For long, women have held back the excruciating events of sexual harassments and unwanted moves because they lacked the evidence and that no one would believe them. For long, their families have hushed away such experiences fearing the power the accused politicians, personalities and employers flex.
Now, we have reached a point where women can come up and be open about the sexual harassments they have gone through in the past—the experiences they go through on a regular basis. Excuse my biased joy, but this is a great feat. This is one of those times where we’re experiencing a cultural shift. We’re moving from away from a time when sexual advances from other sex were “okay” and “it happens” or “I need to get away from this place”. We’re entering into a phase where such experiences can be discussed—when the culprits can be held accountable for the act with less fear that the society will turn against the victim.
(Courtesy: Life of Two)
And we need to celebrate this moment and NOT go back to skepticism and put the blames on the women. We must encourage this new culture where the victims do not have to wait for years and decades to reveal what they went through—where they don’t have to feel cowered in front of the powerful people. This is a much needed change if we’re looking for a balanced world and equal rights for women and men.
Instead of questioning the lack of evidence, we need to support the Tanushree Duttas, journalists and thousands of women who are coming out to share their experience. Do you know the courage it takes to contest against powerful individuals like Nana Patekar and MJ Akbar?!
I am not even sure if they are looking for “justice” per se. They are just partaking in the #MeToo movement so that the next time a girl and women experience sexual harassment from anywhere, she doesn’t wait for years to pen what she experienced. #MeToo movement is far from feminism as so many people want to paint it. It’s about reshaping a culture where sexual harassment is WRONG and not “it happens”. And this is just as true for men as it’s for men.
Even men are coming out to reveal instances of sexual harassments they experience. So, it’s not just about only women. It’s about the entire society who needs to stand up and eliminate sexual harassment, unwanted advances, and rapes. It’s about removing the victim mentality the sufferers feel—it’s about punishing those who are guilty.
There’s no doubt that a handful of these revelations can be outright false—motivated by political and personal gains. However, we can’t call off or blame the whole #MeToo movement due to very few people. Admittedly, the majority of the cases of victims accusing lack evidence. But then how do the victims bring evidence? Do you think they carried a camera when the instance happened? Do you think there’s a writing on the wall about the whole incidence?! Evidences are even more difficult to bring for instances that happened decades back. I believe it’s just one of those things that we close our eyes and believe in the initial stages.
As we move forward, and the new culture shapes and matures, we will have better measures to go beyond the accusations. There could be special courts that deal with such cases. The accused could take up proper measures to prove the innocence.
I think instead of being fixated about the technical things, we must embrace the new culture and work to refine it where accused get enough opportunities to prove his/her innocence.