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With #MeToo taking over our Facebook feeds for the last few days, the gravity of the problem is evident: #YesAllWomen have faced harassment.
A campaign for awareness, a campaign that airs the many issues that erode our social structure. Any campaign which attempts to destroy the regressive mindsets and malpractices so rampant in our world – whether active on-ground or on social media – can only lay a constructive foundation. A foundation for change for the better – for growth.
I woke up today with my Facebook news feed teeming with #MeToo. The hidden knowledge of the pain that many girls/women and boys have been or are going through, was coming out in the open.
The pain was finally being acknowledged and aired. I felt both pained and relieved to be a part of their pain or rather to see the acceptance and sharing of our mutual pain which we experienced and were living through privately, within ourselves. An open secret which was not a secret anymore, made me feel empowered. Somewhere it soothed the pain I have been carrying within since years.
And then I came across a very painful perspective of a few women (yes, women!) on social media, which got me thinking, thereby creating space for this article.
Some consider this as a showing off or as just another fanciful trend, which many women are latching on to just to garner sympathy or attention! That ‘eve-teasing’ or a pinch or two here or there is not sexually abusive – that these are merely par for the course, a normal occurrence not to be taken seriously. (Huh?!)
They are asking – why talk about it? Some are even calling it as falling from one’s dignity and grace by speaking up. Huh?! So accepting sexual abuse silently or within a closed circle of a few, is dignified? Seriously?! And yes, these are women, women who are trivializing the pain and humiliation of other women; who are ridiculing the courage of those who stood up for themselves and spoke out. Just because they never went through it or falsely believe that their choice to stay silent is dignified.
Well to those I would say, hiding a crime is a gross injustice to oneself and other prospective victims. The light must shine strong and bright for the darkness to meet its rightful end.
Speaking up is important. Staying silent about a crime is encouraging it. A lot many of us would not have had the courage to speak up if not for the #MeToo campaign. When you see others, especially those who are celebrities or are perceived as strong, speak up – you find the courage to remove the layers you had hidden your own pain under.
And, no sexual offense is trivial – a pinch, a pawing, catcalling – none are trivial. Each leaves a dirty feeling in the victim and sets a precedence for a culture of suppression harassment and abuse, leading to much bigger and horrifying acts like paedophilia, rape, foeticide, physical abuse, dowry burning, acid attacks, murders….
Let’s talk, to raise a collective voice against a crime that has been accepted silently by our society/ families since ages.
Let us talk to shine the light in those dark spaces from which the perpetrators crawl out from, to crawl back in till the next time.
Let us talk, for our families to understand the gravity of the pain one experiences and live with throughout one’s life.
Let us talk to create the space for many who have yet to speak up – who have no one they can confide or talk with.
Let’s talk, to empower our children and women in our respective circles. Empower them to acknowledge and accept their pain – as only then the healing can begin, to reclaim their identities, self respect and stand up tall without shame or fear.
So if responding to someone’s call of courage by standing up and speaking out is what brings awareness, and perhaps beginning for a much-needed change, then yes! I will speak up and so should you and all conscientious, compassionate folks out there!
Acknowledging my pain, reclaiming my self respect, letting go of the shame of being abused, speaking up, standing tall – to empower myself and many like me. The light must shine bright and strong, for the darkness to end. If the collective brightness of the light hurts your eyes, wear shades! But stop trying to stifle and suppress the voices any longer.
There is power in togetherness. There is power, and hope to heal and start afresh when you accept and are able to boldly say:#Metoo!
First published here.