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India’s current #MeToo Movement has spread like wildfire. It has led to an outrage on social media platforms, especially Twitter. Every post brings out a new story. The ones we read on social media include men at the powerful positions in the media and entertainment industry but the ones that really shake us from within are the Facebook posts, Instagram stories or tweets from our friends, colleagues, and cousins.
What is #MeToo Movement?
#MeToo Movement is breaking the silence about stories of making the “ME” in #MeToo uncomfortable. It was initiated in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and abuse, especially in the workplace.
How did #MeToo start?
The phrase #MeToo was first used in 2006 by Tarana Burke who is a 45-year-old African-American civil rights activist from New York.
In 2006, Tarana used #MeToo as an expression of survival solidarity. She shared the message with the survivors everywhere saying that “you’re not alone, this happened to me too”.
In the west, #MeToo movement was sparked when Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer was accused of sexual harassment by over 70 women.
India’s #MeToo movement was sparked by actor Tanushree Dutta. The movement didn’t pick up the pace until October 4 when writer Mahima Kukreja shared (tweeted in fact) her story of sexual abuse. It led to an outpouring of the stories by other women and thus heads began to roll. Be it a sexual assault, an awkward pass, or a prolonged hug, women have started outpouring their story of #MeToo Movement.
The Society in #MeToo
A handful of volunteers including Bhuyan, Menon, Chatterjee have been compiling a list of lawyers who are ready to extend pro bono legal help to the women who may face a backlash from the accused people. The list will be made public after it has been verified by the team collating it.
They are also helping the victims file legal complaints after the National Commission for Women stated that nothing could be done until the women had prepared written complaints.
The volunteers are also compiling a list of therapists who have offered their help to treat trauma survivors.
Effect of #MeToo
India’s current #MeToo movement has led to resignations by some of the men holding powerful positions in the media and entertainment industry.
According to a report by Livemint “the number of reported instances of sexual harassment at the workplace was higher in private sector companies compared with state-owned ones during the financial year 2018.” The truth is even as each day brings out a new story many of the stories still cannot be said. While some women have documented their story of sexual abuse openly, others only dare to post anonymously. So many stories will never make their way to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
The reality is that each story might not be equal and each story might not even be true but the overall weight of the overall movement is much greater than the individual parts. And if the weight of #MeToo movement makes a man think twice before crossing the line, this will not go in vain.