The #MeToo campaign helped women from all around the world in throwing light on sexual abuse. Not only that, but it also gave women the opportunity to support each other, to empower themselves and to have a chance to talk about a serious issue that usually remains in the dark. India is one of those countries that for a very long time had a tradition-bound society where women were always considered less than men. #MeToo movement in India has played an important part to improve the working condition at the workplace for women.
What is the #MeToo movement?
In 2006, the #MeToo was created by Tarana Burke, a social activist and community organizer, on the Myspace social network as part of a campaign to promote “empowerment through empathy” among women of colour who have experienced sexual abuse, particularly within underprivileged communities.
But #MeToo merged afresh on social media in 2017. The #MeToo campaign began as a hashtag on Twitter in 2017 where over 70 women came forward and accused the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.
The #MeToo movement, which began as a hashtag on Twitter in 2017 amid the Weinstein incident, has now become a global phenomenon. Created by Alyssa Milano, the movement soon found support with noted Hollywood actors Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, and Uma Thurman.
#MeToo Movement in India
Unprecedented storm of MeToo movement is now reaching India’s doorstep and looks like a dawn of new India. For far too long now, society has conditioned women to believe that sexual abuse is a matter that is best dealt by brushing it up under the carpet. A mindset that has to embolden men in a position of power to misuse their authority and exploit women. But that is about to change. The #MeToo movement has finally arrived in India and women from all walks of life are now outing sexual predators at their workplace. India’s #MeToo movement is nothing short of a revolution. The courage displayed by women to share their experience in sometimes heartbreaking, her counts has inspired several others to name and shame perverts.
How #MeToo Movement started in India.
Everyone’s talking about how #MeToo movement in India has taken off. What was once discussed in whispers is now making headlines. It all started when actor Tanushree Dutta renewed allegations of sexual harassment against co-star Nana Patekar.
The former miss universe contestant blamed him for sexually harassing her on the movie set while filming a special song for ‘Horn Ok Pleassss’ in 2008.
“At one point in time, I remember he is grabbing me and pulling me, asking me to stand here and stand there. And then after some time, when we are rehearsing again, he is telling the choreographer to stay away”, she said in an interview.
Ever since Tanushree Dutta, in an interview, alleged that Nana Patekar misbehaved with her, many well-known comedians, journalists, and actors have been named and shamed on social media in the past few days as allegations of sexual misconduct continue to burst out.
From Bollywood big personalities to those in the power corridors of Delhi like Mantri MJ Akbar, they all have been exposed. This has caused a domino effect, inspiring many women to speak out about their own experiences. The #MeToo movement in India, engulfing the whole media and entertainment industry. Several women have bravely come out with stories about harassment and sexual abuse at the workplace at the hands of the powerful and higher-ups.
The Big Names are accused in #MeToo Movement in India
Since the launch of MeToo Campaign in India, so far, names of many big Bollywood celebrities have been revealed in them; Vikas Bahl, Chetan Bhagat, Rajat Kapoor, Kailash Kher, Julie Sued, Alok Nath, Singer Abhijit Bhattacharya, Tamil Writer Vairamuthu and MoS for External Affairs minister MJ Akbar.
And the list is growing as you are reading this!
Inspired by #MeToo, more than a dozen female journalists have also come out to describe inappropriate behaviour by male reporters and editors at some of India’s biggest news organisations.
Every day there is a new report on sexual harassment allegations against prominent personalities. But is the problem just limited to the media and film industry? More than 38% of women in India say they have faced sexual harassment at their workplaces. With the IT sector and banking topping the list. But what is worse, is that more than 70% of the women say they did not report the sexual harassment by superiors because they feared repercussions. So how many #MeToo movements will it take for women to feel safe at their workplaces, their homes or, for that matter, anywhere else?
But at the end of the day, solidarity with each other, that’s the interesting thing to come out through #MeToo movement in India. Hopefully, that momentum stays and the way to make that momentum stay is by media to do more stories, investigate more claims.
People Who say we support women but don’t do so in Reality
Popular comedy group AIB is also on the brink of collapse after key members were accused of sending lewd messages and pictures to women. AIB has been accused of turning a blind eye and taking action only after all the media attention.
AIB highlights sexism prevalent in our society through their videos, but when it comes to fighting it in real life they shut their eyes and mouth like everyone else, as became very clear when the case of Gursimran Khamba and Utsav Chakraborty came to light.
Supporters of #MeToo Says
Anushka Sharma– To speak up about this, it is not easy. It takes a lot of courage to come out there and say these things knowing the tide you are going to be against when you come out and speak.
While some others remain silent.
Amitabh Bachchan– My name is not Tanushree or Nana Patekar.
Some people are blaming women for coming forward now!!!
Many people are shaming and blaming the victims for opening up. These women are even being questioned on why they are speaking out now, months, years or even decades after the incident. Everyone needs to understand that there is an emotional cost of being harassed sexually. There is a shame (that is taught by society), there is doubt and women are constantly second-guessing themselves.
But does speaking out on sexual harassment come at a cost? Apart from the obvious backlash, many victims face the risk of having to change professions, quit their jobs and even face legal consequences. Also, the reluctance of police to lodge an FIR in these cases can’t be ignored.
The naysayers believe that some women are using the movement to settle down their personal score, to spoil the image of a man they may have an axe to grind, especially since a lot of the victim’s statements are not backed up by any type of tangible proof.
But people need to understand that a survivor has very little to gain by speaking up about a traumatic experience. However, questions are being raised on why some women are bringing up the stories that have been late buried in the closet of years now, casting a cloud on the credibility of their experiences. But women are speaking up now because they realise it is better late than never.
Some real-life experience of this…
Tanushree– I had to walk away from the industry out of fear and trauma.
Vinta Nanda – I was labelled a “troublemaker, I was labelled“somebody who was not co-operative. And subsequently, I was out of a job.
So, do we still need to ask why women don’t speak out? There have been some consequences this time around though.
If there is any fake allegation
Fake allegations are less as compare to real ones. But if there is any fake allegation it should be punished by law.
The solution for Sexual Harassment
There are many things that we need to change in India to stop the sexual harassment in India. From the proper implementation of Vaisakha Guidelines to improve the upbringing of boys, there are many things in India that should be implemented to make to the workplace a safe place.
1.No Means No
What is the meaning of girl’s no? NO MEANS NO and when someone says so you should stop.
If she is saying no it means she is not interested. But the problem is we don’t take female’s consent seriously. Our patriarchal society, conditions boys in a way that they think that whatever they want, they should get it, even a girl. Many males grow up in an environment that teaches them that they can do whatever they want without any consequences. In their mind, if a girl says no, it is not important. We told our boys that if a girl says no, it still means yes. (Na me bhi haan hoti hai).Initially, they are will resist and as a boy, you should keep trying.
Boys should also understand the if a girl says NO, it only Means No and you should respect the consent, choice and opinion of a female. Boys should learn that if a girl smile and talk then it doesn’t mean that she is interested. If somebody said no, then you should not ask them again and again. Simple. And the girl should also take a stand-in starting and say no strictly.
|Read Recent Blog On-How Indian girls are manufactured|
2. Change the way of upbringing
At the root level, we should teach our kids to respect a fellow human being, whether male, female, transgenders. We have to tell our children that women are not playing objects. We have to change the mindset which gives the sense of entitlement to a person that you have power over women and you can suppress women. Hopefully, it will change generation to come.
3.Proper implementation of safety guidelines at the workplace.
There should be the compulsory implementation of safety guidelines at the workplace so that every employee free safe and secure. Below this, there are law and guidelines related to sexual harassment which everyone should need to know.
Note- We will not use your ‘sarcastic words’ in law and guidelines. Please read guidelines carefully.
When a woman is harassed at work
How does the law define sexual harassment in the workplace? A look at the guidelines for recognising sexual harassment and the action employers are to take.
The identity of the woman, respondent, witness, any information on the inquiry, recommendation and action were taken, the Act states, should not be made public.
Under what law is sexual harassment at the workplace covered?
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act was passed in 2013. It defines sexual harassment, lays down the procedures for a complaint and inquiry, and the action to be taken. It broadens the Vishaka guidelines, which were already in place.
What were the Vishaka guidelines?
These were laid down by the Supreme Court in a judgment in 1997. This was on a case filed by women’s rights groups, one of which was Vishaka. They had filed a public interest litigation over the alleged gang-rape of Bhanwari Devi, a social worker from Rajasthan. In 1992, she had prevented the marriage of a one-year-old girl, leading to the alleged gang-rape in an act of revenge.
What do Vishaka guidelines say?
Legally binding, these defined sexual harassments and imposed three key obligations on institutions — prohibition, prevention, redress. The Supreme Court directed that they establish a Complaints Committee, which would look into matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace.
How does the 2013 Act broaden these?
It mandates that every employer constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with 10 or more employees. It lays down procedures and defines various aspects of sexual harassment, including aggrieved victim — a woman “of any age whether employed or not”, who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment”, which means the rights of all women working or visiting any workplace, in any capacity, are protected under the Act.
It mandates that every employer constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with 10 or more employees. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)
How does it define sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment includes “any one or more” of the following “unwelcome acts or behaviour” committed directly or by implication:
* Physical contact and advances
* A demand or request for sexual favours
* Sexually coloured remarks
* Showing pornography
* Any other unwelcome physical, the verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
The Women & Child Development Ministry has published a Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace with more detailed instances of behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment at the workplace. These include, broadly:
* Sexually suggestive remarks or innuendos; serious or repeated offensive remarks; inappropriate questions or remarks about a person’s sex life
* Display of sexist or offensive pictures, posters, MMS, SMS, WhatsApp, or emails
* Intimidation, threats, blackmail around sexual favours; also, threats, intimidation or retaliation against an employee who speaks up about these
* Unwelcome social invitations with sexual overtones, commonly seen as flirting
* Unwelcome sexual advances.
The Handbook says “unwelcome behaviour” is experienced when the victim feels bad or powerless; it causes anger/sadness or negative self-esteem. It adds unwelcome behaviour is one which is “illegal, demeaning, invading, one-sided and power based”.
Additionally, the Act mentions five circumstances that amount to sexual harassment — implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment; implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; interference with her work or creating an offensive or hostile work environment; humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.
Every organization should follow Vishaka guidelines very strictly which will make our workplace a safe place to work.
Ministry of Women and Child development has launched a comprehensive SHe-Box online complaint Management System for women working in both public and private organizations to lodge complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace.
The new SHe-Box portal offers the facility of making online complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace to all women employees in the country including government and private employees. If any women face a sexual harassment or any inappropriate behaviour, she should file a complaint in She Box portal.
#MeToo movement gave strength to the voice of the female or any other employee who faced sexual harassment at workplace. If we implement the guidelines at the workplace, change the way of upbringing and respect the fellow human being then there will be no more need of #MeToo movement in India.