#MeToo campaign has grown beyond a hashtag, already becoming a symbol of struggle and resistance.
Every #MeToo revelation delivers a severe shock to the civil society. Revelations have been coming to light continually of sexual harassments carried out by men of repute who have been revered as symbols of decency, idealism, and cultural eminence, who had been calling themselves advocates of women empowerment, social equality and child-friendliness. . Many of the predators are highly powerful and influential. More than that, they are capable of convincing the world around them that they are not people with such a mentality and that they would not carry out such acts. It is no more a secret that there are packs of predators in every field including the film industry which has been considered as the pillars of liberalism and expressiveness, journalism, art and sports sectors as well as bureaucratic and political circles. . Not only women, but children, youth and transgenders have all been victims of harassment.
Sexual violations have been taking place at an alarming rate in the academic sector as if it were a matter of right. It is because of the fear of the capability of the abusers to eliminate not only the research but also one’s life that many revelations get stuck in the throat. One of the survivors of sexual harassment came forward with her revelation after reaching a stage where she might have realized that she would be shattered if she no longer revealed her unpleasant experiences. It is driven by this energy that hundreds of voices that have been silenced regained their voice and revelations came to light. There are hundreds of women out there who are still not free from the pain inflicted years ago, who are still forced to relive those hard moments when recalled. There are again thousands who do not have a social capital or social media account to reveal their stories. There was a move this time as well, to quash and liquidate by defaming those who come out with their revelations. However, the attempts this time were rendered futile. It is a relief that at least some of the media and cultural institutions came forward to adopt measures against the wrongdoers without any bias. But the precedent of the US senate and president Donald Trump that paved way for Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court panel of judges even amidst gross sexual harassment allegations, is acceptable even to the Indian liberal and leftist circles even today. Even when the law and order machinery registers a suo motu case, the approach is no different.
Let us salute every fighter who made plainspeaking leaping over a sea of pain. Many icons should have fallen even earlier. But ours was not a mature society where one could speak up one's mind or will lend an open ear. If we revisit also the positions held by the culprits in the socio-cultural and media fields, the stances they adopted and administrative decisions taken, we may be in for endless shocks. By seeing the work by a guilty artist of a woman statue breaking her fetters, what should an aesthetically sensitive world make of it?
This is a time when every individual and movement should ask themselves how gender-sensitive they are. It may be the insensitivity we showed that may have served as a cover for many torturers. Over and above their predominance in their professional and arts fields, many perpetrators have misused their family and friendly relations for the despicable acts. The way still left to forestall such excesses - often made in the guise of friendliness - is to make our households into sources of security and moral support. Let us also dispel the practice of blaming the victim if the alleged ones are dear to us. Actor and cultural activist Nandita Das has presented such an exemplary model by expressing solidarity with the victims, even when allegations were raised against her own father. Let the #MeToo disclosures continue. By the time it comes to an end, we should have restructured our society in such a way that no one can venture an attack again.