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The recent #MeToo campaign has been derided by some as hashtag activism, but let’s look beneath the surface. There is a lot more to speaking up when you are in a vulnerable place.
On October 15th, Alyssa Milano tweeted:
“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet: Suggested by a friend: If all women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
She would have not imagined the level of response this tweet would receive. Thousands and thousands of women used the hashtag. The hashtag started to trend. Many men were seen opening up too. The hashtag was used to stand up against a lot of cultural beliefs, patriarchal norms, and influential personalities. No less. It became a revolution.
On the other hand, some critics couldn’t stop themselves from stating…this is how you show your vulnerability… If men want to know or help, let them trend a hashtag…this is how people are jerked out of their social media comforts. And so forth.
I chose to pen down my thoughts because this hashtag is much more then the success metrics or the criticism of the campaign. Let us step down from the statistics and understand why did so many people choose to use (or not use) the hashtag.
This campaign came forth after incidents like the Ram Rahim rape scandal and Harvey Weinstein scandal surfaced. It may have been targeted towards workplace assault in all kinds of industries, but people accounted every incident of their lives including childhood experiences, public place assaults, marital rapes, and many such situations when they felt violated under vulnerable circumstances. This explains the ‘magnitude’; and to some extent the success of the campaign.
It may not be important to trend a hashtag. But, we fail to understand that it is WE who can make the survivors comfortable. Help them open up. Help them trust us. Help them live. It is important that WE share our stories so that they don’t feel alone and cocoon themselves. It is important that WE empower them in our personal capacity so that we can prevent people from having such experiences in the first place. It is important that WE question the popular beliefs with religious innuendos without blindly believing in them.
Nobody deserves to go through this disgusting experience in their lives. Nobody deserves to live in fear. Nobody deserves to hate themselves. Nobody deserve to turn into a monster. Nobody wants to be a #MeToo.