Bangalore Literature festival,a perfect romance of literature,fine reading and writing.
My last weekend was sorted as I witnessed this extravaganza and celebrated the creative spirit of the festival.Some narration,some discussion and some fun moments.
Amidst all these what impacted me the most was meeting few of the forerunners of Indian #MeToo movement and understanding their dilemma in past and the clear prospective in present.
The #MeToo movement has finally reached India and the details are more horrid than I could have ever imagined.
Along with the movement we are also seeing a divide in opinions about the #MeToo movement and it is a spectrum ranging from Outright Denial to Open Acceptance, with Ignorance being in the middle.
Just like Rome, India’s #MeToo movement was not built in a day.
It took years and several women to come out about their individual traumas that finally led to the watershed.
“Why is it that sexual violence against women is a ‘women’s issue’ and not a ‘men’s issue’?
There is a deafening silence.There is a missing piece in the Indian #MeToo movement and that is – Men are not there at all.
Sad,but even today in 21st-century India why are men hesitant to be champions of gender justice?
What’s more disheartening is to know that men who apparently portray themselves as “woke” are rather complicit in the deeds.
Men have been disappointing me for decades, but this time they proved themselves to be of another level of garbage by questioning the integrity of the entire movement itself.
Why are so many women “crying” all of a sudden?
Why did the woman who has come forward not report it earlier, or if she had why did she not follow it through ?
What is her motive now, what circumstances brought upon her the harassment ?
What degree of harassment was it so that it can be classified properly ?
Why do/ did they not go to the police?
Why did they not complain about this at workplace/home?
What will they achieve by sharing the stories on social media?
– These have become the overriding concerns.
The whole idea is to bring to the limelight what the society has blindfolded itself to.It is a huge risk. Imagine, you are living in a country where the Police might not even lodge the FIR of a rape attempt. There you want to lodge a complaint of sexual harassment. It is difficult to file a police complaint.
The movement acts as a medium of ’empowerment through empathy’, to tell those who have suffered that they are not alone.
If not justice, it will at least provide relief to the survivor after sharing a traumatic experience hidden deep.
Men, if you are unsure about what you need to do in these times here’s where you can start:
1. Believe the women who are coming forward even if the claims are against your friends or family. Don’t question why they didn’t come forward sooner. The least you can do is listen and believe them now.
2. Do not make sexual jokes or any jokes at all about this movement (which is just scratching the surface in India,right now)
3. If someone accuses YOU of (moderate) harassment, inappropriate jokes, gestures, of basically being a douche, take time to reflect, understand, apologize (profusely!) and use this as moment for self-growth.
4. Don’t get defensive if you see women use the blanket term “all men” to address their stories.
Even if you are an outlier, I bet you have been in a room where a guy said something inappropriate and you chose to stay quiet. So, yes you are part of the problem.
5. Don’t participate in conversations which talk about women in a degrading manner. Heck, be the man who asks others to stop even!
6. This one will probably be difficult for a lot of Indian men, but try and stop talking to your friends with mother- sister cursing. Clean your language, clean your mind!
And if you have nothing productive or supportive to add to the #MeToo conversation how about you stay quiet, and watch us change this world?
This is just a starting point. I don’t know where in history we went wrong, but it is about time we set things right.
Men, save your gender. Women can’t save you any more. We are busy fighting our own battles.
And ladies, don’t come at me with how fabulous the men in your lives are – I am happy for you, but this is not your moment.
Save it for your Facebook updates. This is the time to stand in solidarity. Let’s build each other up. We are stronger, together!
Let these women talk. It is their time. Our time. We all have been quiet long enough.
but surely men and women must be united in a human being’s basic right to stay unmolested in a public place.
#MeToo doesn’t condemn all men, instead it invites men to join the process of social transformation.
The waves of #MeToo have finally reached our shores and there’s nothing anyone can to stop the skeletons from tumbling out of the closet.
I hope this movement or whatever it is that people are calling it brings about the change that we have been waiting for.This should have happened long before,but I am happy that it’s finally happening. I hope all the women stand together rather than protecting their husbands, boyfriends, sons and friends. We need this to work. Things have to change.
I sincerely hope that more women (and men) will come up with their (true) stories and empower this movement further.
In fact #MeToo in India is a unique opportunity for men here to take a stand on behalf of women and strongly send out the message that sexually abusive behaviors will not be tolerated and initiate measures for gender equality in workplaces and everywhere else
The choice is yours because #MeToo is about #YouToo.
Hi! I am Anushree Dash…
1 Part Entrepreneur
2 Parts Writer
3 Parts Social reformer
4 Parts explorer
5 Parts photographer, Too many Parts.
A free-spirited,non-conformist,,impenitent,independent,adventurous,boho soul and an admirer of life. Loves my Indian roots, Culture, Aesthetic Living, Saree, Poetry …