The #MeToo campaign seems to have taken the country by storm. But the real test of the authenticity of this movement shall be unfolded by time. While a section
of people have been actively supporting the movement, others are
rubbishing it to be instigated and political.
#Metoo Movement– The Origin & Spread
Tarana Burke??, an activist, is responsible for starting the #Metoo movement in 2006. Tarana wanted to encourage women to share solidarity with each other. Tarana Burke started the campaign #Metoo, with a motive to empower women through empathy. She is also creating a documentary titled Metoo, in which she has shared her inspiration to begin this movement. Tarana was unable to respond to a 13-year-old girl who confined to her about her sexual assault. She shares that she wished she had simply told the girl,? MeToo.
This #Metoo went viral in 2017 when Alyssa Milano used the hashtag to support a friend Rose McGowan’s allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. At this time Burke came into spotlight in 2018 Golden Globes because #Metoo was in full swing in Hollywood and everybody was reporting it using the hashtag.
Burke said,? “Sexual harassment does bring shame. And I think it’s really important that this transfer is happening, that these women are able not just to share their shame but to put the shame where it belongs on the perpetrator.”
When Milano shared the tweet ‘#Mee too’ on Oct 15, 2017, it was retweeted more than 200,000 times by the end of the day and 500,000 times by the next day. Well imagine the magnitude of the problem! The hashtag was used by more than 4.7 million people with 12 million posts.
Later after this movement started, in November 2017, the #ChurchToo started by Emily Toy and Hannah Paasch. It highlighted the sexual misconduct that happens in church with women.
Not only in America, women in other countries have also broken their silence about the sexual harassment they are facing anywhere in any workplace.
In India too, the #Metoo movement is influenced by the international campaign against sexual harassment.
#METOO in India
In India, #Metoo movement came in December 2012, when a 23-year-old, student of Delhi was gang raped brutally which damaged her intestine, lungs, brain. Everybody in the country was so frustrated and devastated with the incident that they came out with their own stories.
Tanushree Dutta, with her recent revelation, has become the face of #Metoo campaign in India.
“Something is getting shaken up.. I am just trying to make things uncomfortable,” Tanushree said.
On September 26, 2018 Tanushree Dutta gave an interview to TV channel where she told the world about her sexual harassment case against Nana Patekar (in the movie Horn OK Please) in 2009. She recalls the incident when she walked out from the sets of the movie of ‘Horn OK Please’ and locked herself inside her trailer, waiting for her parents to pick her up. A crowd of men started banging at the door, demanded to get out of it and finish the shooting. There is also footage of this incident where her car was surrounded by men, who were banging on the glass, roof, asking her to get out. She accused Nana Patekar of sexually harassing her during the shoot and calling out the crowd.
Janice Sequeira, a journalist, who is a witness of this incident shared, ‘Some incidents that take place even a decade ago remain fresh in your memory. I was there at that time. I saw Tanushree was upset and going on and off the set during the shoot’.
At that moment, nobody noticed her dismay. Years later, Tanushree has come back to India creating a wave in the industry with #Metoo campaign. She was supported by a number of celebrities.
Priyanka Chopra showed her support and retweeted under #BelieveSurvivors.
‘I want the people and government to acknowledge and address the issue. I believe after all this while Justice should be brought’. This tweet of the actress went viral and people started acknowledging the issue. Or atleast people have started listening! After this a number of women came out in the industry with #Metoo stories. Stand up comedian Gursimran Khamba was accused by an unknown girl on sexual harassment charges.
The Vice-President of YRF (Yash Raj Films) also terminated Ashish Patil, who was accused by an aspiring actress of harassing her and forcibly kissing her.
The Housefull 4 director Sajid Khan is also accused by several women. Akshay Kumar in the support, announced on Twitter to cancel the shoot of his film Housefull 4 till further notice. Nana Patekar is no longer be a part of the film after accusations made against him.
Politics & #MeToo in India
Not only the film Industry, the movement has shaken the entire country. Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and veteran journalist MJ Akbar was also accused by his female colleagues. Union Minister Smriti Irani, acknowledged this issue and called for a probe.
Challenges Ahead for #MeToo Women Campaigners
The campaign and surviving through it is not easy! There are a number of challenges that women could face and it certainly makes it difficult for them to come out and speak. If a women fails to prove her allegations in court, under the law of defamation in India there is a two year jail term. The laws are different in US though. The first amendment protects these rights for women there.
There has been a number of efforts to strengthen the sexual harassment of women at workplace Act, 2013 but they are not as systematically established in India. Emphatically erroneous for survivors!