This time last year, the world witness the Harvey Weinstein & Hollywood’s #MeToo story unfold.
Finally, thanks to one start by Tanushree Dutta, we now see the start of a revolution of India’s #MeToo.
When sexual abuse cases/repeat offenders are at its peak in the country, its TIME! When record number of rape cases against minors, many in prolonged captivity, results in no justice its TIME! When violence against men & women in all sectors and class of the society, is an everyday newspaper headline, it’s TIME! When the law enforcement is busy dealing with 10-year-old cases to give any justice to the current victims, its TIME! When people in power, can be a predator for years and still get away with it, it’s TIME!
India with a population of 1.24B, without a doubt is facing huge and unique challenges.
As proud as I am to be an Indian, it makes me sad to acknowledge we have a long way to ensure an individual’s safety in our country. For all to truly sensitize to the concept of CONSENT.
In the past two weeks, listening to over 20 victims publicly accusing their perpetrators from the world of Journalism, Film, TV, literature & advertising has given me hope that change is coming for the better.
Earlier, we ignored, brushed it aside, isolated them, boycott them and see them ruin their careers. Not now. We need to LISTEN to each one of them NOW. We need more victims to come out and speak up. If the Millennials intend to step outside of their homes and be independent, we need to demand safety, in work but also in buses, trains, and at home.
We question why now?
The newer generation is not ready to accept this as a norm, sweep it under the rug. There is an anger among the people across the country. It took the westerners to bring awareness, but it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. The governing bodies are stepping up to boycott the accused in their respective professions till the court takes its decisions. The survivors are helping each other to address their fears. There is hope! Now I see the tide is turning for the good of the country and its people.
Why in India?
Unfortunately, most victims don’t have the support from their immediate family, spouse etc. The fear of public shame, massive consequences, harassment by the powers-to-be, the inability of the law to give them protection, the disinterest of the media to cover their story if they are not a celebrity, makes it very difficult for most to come forth. All this, while they are dealing with their own self coming to terms with the ordeal and blaming themselves for it.
Thanks to the responsible media that is giving them the light of day, bringing this upfront in the face of the nation. They have the power to raise awareness and provide these victims a platform to speak up.
Indian film industry a.k.a Bollywood has such a profound impact on the society and has an obligation to speak on such social issues. It’s also their responsibility to stop item songs/movies made objectifying women. This irresponsible cinema greatly impacts our society, our thought process, our judgement of right vs wrong and how we perceive our environment more than we think.
We may be on our way to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2028, still over 400 million Indians are mired in poverty, corruption is endemic, rape is the 4th most common crime with an average 68 rapes/day. As per some activists less than 15% of rapes get reported. 97% cases of abuse are by people known to their victims in their environment. The change we want to see must start at HOME. It must start with how we raise our children, how we protect them, how we train them, how we ensure their safety and help nurture their mental and physical wellbeing.
Is it fair?
Yes, in this process there will be some #WRONG METOO. This should not be about a failed relationship, getting back on your ex, or a revenge. Let the real voices not be drowned or diluted in this mix. Yes, I empathize with the men & women that may be wrongly accused. In most cases its evident of how genuine and authentic it truly is. But if we do end up accusing some #WRONG METOO’s, I say SORRY, its collateral damage for the greater good to help protect thousands of potential victims of abuse, sexual assault & rape.
Let it be known that such acts if conducted, are reprehensible, has severe consequences and should not be tolerated.
Let this not be a gender issue. Let us stand in solidarity with all the victims that have come forward and show them respect for their courage. Let us also not judge people that don’t speak out. Let them follow their own journey of healing, for when they are ready they will. Let us focus on the issue at hand which is to provide a safe & equal atmosphere for ALL at work and at home.
Most importantly – let’s OWN our mistakes, do right by the victims, give them expedited trials, ensure very severe punishment for crime against minors, put stricter laws in place and ENFORCE it, last but not the least understand & sensitize the new generation on the concept of CONSENT as a fundamental right for all.
Cheers to a new beginning….