In a cascade of allegations, India’s #MeToo movement has arrived as women took to Twitter to call out comedians, journalists, authors, actors, and filmmakers, because of which a debate about consent and complicity has sparked.
It has not been stimulated by investigative journalism as happened in Hollywood. Rather in the last few days, it has been a spontaneous outpouring, raised by journalists themselves. And due to which it has hit Indian media the hardest. A Bollywood actress’s allegations of sexual harassment appear to be emboldening women to speak out at last. Although these personalities breathe on the land where society thinks its better not to speak than to reveal such things, as disclosure of such stories is being credited as spitting on one’s own reputation. But recently many important figures were empowered to express their sufferings publicly.
MJ Akbar, junior foreign minister is accused of predatory behavior, including inviting young women to hotel rooms for “meetings”. At least six women have accused Akbar of harassment when he was a journalist.
In a recent interview, Tanushree Dutta accused well known Bollywood actor Nana Patekar of wrong behavior about 10 years ago on a film set. The global phenomena encouraged her to go public again, to this Patekar has issued a denial.
Television writer-producer Vinta Nanda accused veteran actor Alok Nath of rape and repeated sexual harassment in a detailed Facebook post. And later actress Sandhya Mridul becomes the second woman to have accused Alok Nath of sexual harassment and misconduct through a detailed tweet.
OTHERS WHO WERE ACCUSED
- Kailash Kher
- M Mukesh
- Abhijeet Bhattacharya
- Varun Gover
- Raghu Dixit
- Vivek Agnihotri
- Gaurang Doshi
- Utsav Chakraborty
- Vikas Bahl
- Chetan Bhagat
- Rajat Kapoor
1. DUE PROCESS
The flood of allegations has encouraged questions over due process and the effectiveness of social media in India. Lately, it has brought in to be used as a platform that truly makes people feel free to reveal the secrets.
In patriarchal India, most industries have the stronghold of powerful men—and it’s not easy to go up against them. Since decades it has been believed that one needs publicity that’s why she revealed things, but what a female will do with such publicity or fame that worth her sufferings.
After listening to such stories the first question that men ask is why they were quiet for so long? Do you want to know why? Because she was forced to keep her mouth shut. None supported her or embraced her to confess, nor came along with her to give her strength, neither stood by her. But in spite of this, they asked her to move on and forget the pain or the sufferings. And do you want to know who are they? They are the close ones, her family, relatives, friends etc. Because as per the society it’s ethical to be quiet and unethical to open up as sharing the sufferings of assault, harassment etc. comes at the worth of losing reputation and image.
Can one ever imagine that what all courage and strength it took for her to speak out? How she would have felt while remembering such horrifying incident again? How long she would have taken to come out of that nightmare?
No these questions never ever crossed our mind because we live in a society that immediately judges a person who speaks about their hardships and distresses, always encircling a female at fault.
Whenever such ruthless incidents take place we rely on our seniors to take actions against it but one definitely would be heartbroken after knowing that the heads themselves are accusing the victim.
“Should I tell you the truth? I feel that day she (Tanushree) was on her periods. So, you get irritated. Small touch or maybe something else, even I don’t know what exactly happened because I wasn’t there.” –Samee Siddiqui, Film Producer
The fact that needs to be believed is that change won’t come until there are safe ways for them to report abuse and until more leading figures in the industry accept that there is a problem. Indian law requires workplaces to have a committee against sexual harassment headed by a woman employee. As a woman would be more comfortable talking to a female than a male.
“We need to make our institutions more accountable. Each organization needs to look within itself to see how they’ve dealt with complaints like this and how they plan to deal with them in the future.” –Minu Jain, an editor at the news agency Press Trust of India