Do you remember the time when you were traveling in a public transport and some hand tried to feel you? Or the time when you were walking on the road and some group of boys who had just hit puberty yelled “Kaha Chali bulbul” or similar.. Or someone tried stalking you… sounds familiar? All these have different names, but it eventually means ‘harassment’
I reject the ‘Me Too’ movement because it seems to stifle the cause and give rise to some more arm-chair activists. Let me begin by clarify a few things.
- I appreciate the movement and I know this is just the tip of the iceberg
- I don’t think this has anything to do with gender or social status
- I would hate anyone to believe they are in the minority and hence they need the pity or solidarity from a certain section.
- I am hating it that the movement is now being hijacked by opportunists, politicians and a few others who are looking for publicity.
I reject the ‘Me Too’ movement in its current form because
These incidents are not experienced by a small percentage of people
When you say ‘Me Too’ you are sharing a common bond. I hate to consider sexual assault, or any kind of physical or emotional harassment a matter to bond over. The victim does not need your pity here. They need the comfort that you are with them in their lowest of times. These incidents are not limited to a certain section of the society, or a certain social status or affluence. We need to call a spade a spade and showcase our intolerance towards any form of harassment right from eve-teasing to sexual assault. Saying ‘Me Too’ is like adding to the belief that this is normal and ‘Yeh Hota Rahega’ let’s cry together and move on!
Sexual Harassment is a Reality
Almost every woman has experienced it in some form or the other. This was the whole reason why your elders asked you to stay away from boys or get home before dark. They have no issues trusting you, but they don’t trust the world. Sadly they too instead of finding the solution to the problem decided to stay in a bubble and keep you in it too!
The worst affected are men or boys. The so-called muscular tough guy appearance that they have to put up does not allow them to cry or talk about such harassment’s. Even if they do talk it out, not many believe them as many believe sexual harassment is limited to women.
Many kept quiet about it; some assumed this as a natural problem everyone faces when he/she steps out of the house, while many others suffered assuming no one would understand. It is time we educate our children that this is not NORMAL, they have the right to speak up and when they do we will listen. It is time to come out of our ivory towers and look at the world for what it is. Accept that there is a problem and implement the strong laws that are created.
This has nothing to do with Education, social status or affluence
In the past few weeks we have seen a range of people being accused of sexual harassment right from the Sanskari Bapu to an intellectual author. Then we have some village coming in with iron rods and sticks to hit the girls who resisted harassment. We have some migrant labor, whose lust has cost a small girl her innocence and hundreds of innocent migrants their jobs and a fear of life. We have heard of bosses and fathers turning into demons and we have read of neighborhood aunty turning into a monster by burning a boy’s private parts for resisting sex!
This is a resident evil that needs to be uprooted
From the above instances you know that sexual harassment is an epidemic that is present across social strata, economic strata and is certainly not limited to a particular gender or profession. After the last few weeks many might be led to believe that this is prevalent only in glamor industries but the fact of the matter is anyone with power can misuse it to harass his/her colleagues. Such people are emboldened by the fact that the victim will feel ashamed and in some way consider himself/herself responsible for what happened. The entire belief system that the one with power are next to Gods and can do anything doesn’t help either.
The powerful will try to influence the system, but we need to find ways in which the interests of the victim are protected too.
It’s time to declare No Means No
What we need today is #NoMeansNo movement. We need to educate children right from young age that sexual harassment is not something that they need to put up with. Harassment of any kind needs to be reported.
Crass movies or other forms of entertainment that objectify women show eve-teasing and other forms of mild or strong sexual harassment in lighter vein should be banned or taxed thrice the regular charges.
Entertainment needs age appropriate ratings
Never ask a girl or a boy who tells you about some form of harassment to forget about it and keep quiet.
Launch a nationwide help line number for registering such complaints and following them up. Here is the current available helpline numbers for various causes – http://www.ncw.nic.in/frmhelpline.aspx
Each registered case should have speedy justice within a month
Till the case is cleared no news agency can report about it especially with the names of victim or perpetrators. We don’t need those looking to misuse the rules to get another easy way to threaten or defame someone.
We don’t need debates and on television court room drama to name and shame someone without the case reaching its logical conclusion.
Keep an eye out for any small changes in the behavior of your dear ones
Teach them self-defense. Talk about simple things that can be used to protect ourselves. Ask them to stay alert always.
Those trying to hijack the movement by adding a political, religious or gender color to it be severely punished and soon.
We don’t need fake and misleading information when there is already an information overload
Don’t scare your loved ones but make them strong by talking about reality, giving tips to self-defense and finally assuring them that you are with them, no matter what!
Teach them the difference between a Yes and a No and the importance of personal boundaries.
Another important thing to remember is that if some untoward incident does happen, then the victim is not at fault. It does not belittle or rip them off her/his worth.
Finally, Man (no gender involved) is a predator by nature. Those with power or some kind or influence most certainly might misuse it, but we can’t let the society believe that is NORMAL. That is not okay and should not be okay.
Give the victim the assurance that he/she won’t be blamed and slandered for standing up! Believe and investigate, but don’t go overboard passing judgments before going to the root of it either as there are many other loved ones involved who might or might not know about the ugly face.
Also remember that there will be men and women who are ready to go to any lengths to achieve their dreams. They might consider sexual favors as a normal price to pay, but this is not each ones belief. Assuming that if X can do it, why can’t Y is wrong and hence I don’t believe the current ‘MeToo’ will really help in stopping this.
What we need is an education for both genders about the importance and respect for a NO Means NO