Oh Maa durga! I am your incarnation. I am your child and made in your image. If you impart Shakti to one and all then why is your daughter so helpless today? Why am I suffering at the hands of wrong doers? Why are my intentions questioned at each step? If you destroyed the Mahishasura when he did wrong and the world bowed down at your feet then why don’t your daughters have the same power? Why don’t you impart that same power to #MeToo?
The #MeToo movement has taken the nation by a storm over the past few weeks with women slowly but surely coming out with horror stories of their pasts and making them public through social media. It is definitely a show of courage that they are putting up. Not because they are just speaking but also because they are gutsy enough to revisit the horrific incidents in the past. Bollywood and media has already come out and I hope corporate and other fields soon follow suit. Tanushree Dutta, by now the ‘Mother of #MeToo in India’ has talked about just a small incident (considering other more horrid accounts) but taken a huge step. Stories against other influential people have just brought forth how common scene this is with one and all of us. Alok Nath, Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan, Rajat Kapoor, Chetan Bhagat all have been accused of this. Some have accepted their loose behavior and apologized but does that help? Why did they even think that it was ok to do this?
As we celebrate navratri, the auspicious festival of feminine power within all of us, men and women alike, is it really a time to finally introspect?
India has been riddled with horrific crimes against women since times immemorial. Behaving inappropriately with women of all ages has been so common practice that it does not even seem inappropriate anymore. The only option available to women? Being careful and altering their behavior at each step so that maybe they won’t be victimized. The result – they continue being victims. Sometimes because they dressed inappropriately, sometimes they spoke very openly and forgot to be shut up at the right time, sometimes because they chose public transport, sometimes they chose to be friends with boys, sometimes they seemed too talented to handle and so on. So be it whatever, the end result is that they play a victim and the reason for the crime too. A thought process, very idiotic and unfair by all means, but still existent.
Why does this happen? Thinking about the root cause, I realize that all these incidents just point to one thing. The deep rooted patriarchal belief that it’s ok to behave in a manner with women that might make them feel uncomfortable, uneasy, insulted, compromised or even out rightly molested. Women are supposed to take it and be mum. Society will look down on them if they speak up against the molester and reveal that their bodies were subject to torture. A woman’s body is treated like a temple that cannot be declared as compromised with. Even if it has undergone torture the image has to be maintained that of a perfect altar.
We all go through this hell. Even I have. I did write on my FB wall #MeToo in the first wave of the campaign along with many of my friends, colleagues, sisters and so on. Each one of us has not one but many tales. Did I have the courage to even tell my family, my mother even? No. I was scared to let them know, lest they think I was to be blamed for it. So do we realize how it impacts us? It’s a scar for life that keeps coming back as if it’s a guilt that we have to go through. As if it was our fault.
The problem with our society is that we are not ashamed of something we ought to be ashamed of. Yet we are very ashamed of many things that we should be angry and offended about. Women being raped should be ashamed, women should be ashamed that they get periods every month and stay under cover, women should be ashamed that they do a skin show and be the reason for eve teasing, women should be ashamed that they speak up against a crime that was not just a physical assault but a mental one too. Shame has a very different definition when it comes to women.
#MeToo has at least set grounds for a social reform and a change that is so due. Finally the world is accepting the woman’s point of view. Rather the victim’s point of view. We are criminalizing the perpetrators of crime and not the one who suffered. Yamini from SheThePeopleTV reported that some women are calling this an elitist movement and terming it as restricted to social media and some privileged section of urban women. Really!! I mean why and how do women belittle women like that. We must use this platform as the start of a major revolution. Social reform comes at a very grave personal cost. Coming out in the open will make us vulnerable for some time period and open to abusive comments from the so called civilized society. However, we must stand together and fight for our rights to be treated ‘Human’. Teach our children, both daughters and sons to respect each other’s bodies and treat each other with utmost care. Make sure that every molester out there rethinks his actions and is ashamed of his acts rather than shaming the person who suffers.
#MeToo is our chance as a generation to make sure that we give the coming generations a better society and a changed mindset. Together we can and We MUST.