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Does it feel like you are just watching the #MeToo movement from a distance? No, you too have a role to play, and here’s how you can show support #MeToo in your daily life.
A few days ago I happened to be in conversation with an acquaintance and the topic of the me too movement popped up. Like a lot of us, he too had the same kind of questions. “Why now?” “Why not before?” “Where is the proof?”
In every household, office and department, #MeToo stories are making rounds. Some of us are involved while some of us are mere watchers. Or, that’s what we decide to believe. After the conversation I realised that a lot of people who ask similar questions, are scared.
According to a Times of India article, The YouGov India survey of 1,000 urban Indian adults was conducted between October 16-22. Overall, 76% of urban Indians believe that sexual harassment is a very serious problem in India. It also says that every second urban male is now ‘over cautious’ while interacting with women.
Another day, one of my ex-colleagues said, “The educated youth is now compelled to re-examine their approach towards women. Because you never know, which of your actions can be found offensive.”
So it’s time for us to ask, why are these people over cautious or in other words, scared?
People are scared because they aren’t sure which actions in the past have the potential to turn against them.
Which means, people are still not sure if they have unknowingly crossed the line that separates normal conduct from sexual misconduct. So for once, let me clarify what normal conduct is and when it can be termed as misconduct.
Any kind of touch is a misconduct if makes the other person uncomfortable.
Sex without consent even if the person is your spouse or girlfriend is sexual misconduct.
Asking for sex in return for a favour is misconduct.
Cracking lewd jokes that insult a particular person or gender is misconduct. Famous comedians like Tanmay Bhatt and Utsav Chakraborty have recently been named as culprits for such behaviour. Humor is not humor if it makes the other person cringe.
Texting and calling someone in the middle of the night, drunk. Rings a bell?
To summarise, any action that makes the other person uncomfortable and awkward can be termed as misconduct. And that makes it a subject for deep introspection. Haven’t we all felt that kind of discomfort at some point? With a friend, a colleague, boss, family member or even a stranger? Haven’t we ever witnessed any such acts?
I feel that the agitation caused by the #MeToo movement in India is a success in itself. Conduct that men and women once considered normal, is now evaluated with great care. Every day more and more women are coming out to speak about their personal #MeToo story. But inspite of all this, crime against women is still on the rise and there is still a long way to go.
Instead of waiting for the powerful and the influential to join in, ‘We’ on an individual basis need to do our part first. I am strongly of the opinion that each and every one of us has a role to play here. Some of us must have fought it back while a lot of us remained silent. Some of us might have been spectators. But that makes all of us, part of the game. Little things we do every day speak a lot about our support towards the movement. Little things that we assume are ‘normal’ and perfectly ‘harmless’ show how strongly we feel towards misconduct against women.
If you truly support the #MeToo movement, please show your solidarity by avoiding these kind of situations.
Small actions of significance from each of us can make a huge difference in the society in the future. Are you with #Metoo ?
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Veteran Feminist Kamla Bhasin Reciting This #meToo Poem – Salute!
The #MeToo Movement Needs Women’s Solidarity, Now More Than Ever
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