India’s Moment Of #MeToo : The Naming & Shaming Of Sexual Offenders

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The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement), with many local and international alternatives, is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault done to women either at the workplace or in any other way thereby causing mental, physical, emotional and psychological trauma and agony to the victim. There is general agreement that a lack of effective reporting options is a major factor that drives unchecked sexual misconduct in the workplace and on the streets. Social stigmatization of the victim instead of the perpetrator is what makes victims hold back such heinous instances.

Going back to its inception, Tarana Burke, an American social activist, and community organizer began using the phrase “Me Too” as early as 2006, and the phrase was later popularized by American actress Alyssa Milano, on Twitter in 2017.

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The year-old #MeToo movement has long failed to create any spark in India, but Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta’s accusations of sexual harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar appears to be emboldening women to speak out at last. And now we are witnessing ripples!! It is macabre to witness, with each passing day, more and more females females in the industry coming forward, joining the chorus of the most prominent and so called respected names of the Indian Film Industry. What a facade!!

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What is even enlightening is to know that a famous comedian, a best-selling author and top and renowned editors and journalists from the media have all found themselves accused of abusing their positions and have come under the red light for sexual misconduct towards women. It is not only that but many of the allegations are extremely grave and disheartening.

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Besides Nana Patekar, below is the list of Indian celebs and other prominent figures who have been accused as part of the #MeToo campaign in India:
1. Varun Grover
2. Alok Nath
3. Gaurang Doshi
4. Vivek Agnihotri
5. Vikas Bahl
6. Utsav Chakroborty
7. Chetan Bhagat
8. Rajat Kapoor
9. Kailash Kher
10. Aditi Mittal
11. Raghu Dixit
12. Sajid Khan

The focal pretention of the entire upheaval is that it is important to identify the exact transgression in the various cases that are being highlighted and to ensure that action is taken with due process and must be punished proportionately to the misdemeanor. It must disturb us that a thread that binds so many allegations now coming out is that many women thought that their words and feelings would be dismissed, their careers would suffer, or their families would pull them back into the safety of home. Touche!! This fear of making a complaint needs to be subdued in all workspaces, not only the media or the film industry. In the vast majority of cases, the naming is a result of the failure to receive a just and equitable response from the system, a signal that is no longer possible for such behaviour to be breezily dismissed or excused because boys, after all, will be boys. All of society needs to internalize a new dogma that protects a woman’s autonomy and her freedom from subjugation or discrimination at the workplace.

It isn’t just the film industry but women across all professional spheres that have been through this at some point of time, both consciously and unconsciously. And for those who claim it to be a matter of publicity or cognizance, it is vital to know that speaking of such instances endangers the life and peace of the victim in a degree much more than that of the accused.¬† It is just that the film industry and media is a great platform to address such an issue and to take the imperative corrective measures aiming to curb the same.

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