The #MeToo movement is an international movement spread on social media against sexual harassment and sexual assault. It is going on since October 2017 Hash tag is used on social media to demonstrate the widespread occurrence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. This movement spread like a wide fire soon after the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. In October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported dozens of complaints by women against film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse over a period of at least 30 years. More than 80 women in the film industry have since accused Weinstein of such acts. A country is called progressive when law and order is swift; Weinstein was dismissed from The Weinstein Company which is now known now known as Lantern Entertainment and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other professional associations, and disappeared from public view.
Tarane 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. Milano encouraged victims of sexual harassment to tweet about it to give people a sense of the enormity of the problem. This was met with super success. Several hashtags about sharing stories of workforce sexual harassment were in use before #MeToo, including #MyHarveyWeinstein, #YouOkSis, #WhatWereYouWearing and #SurvivorPrivilege
A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social media such as Twitter and other microbolgging services llowing users to apply user-generated tagging.
#MeToo in Bollywood: Recently, several Bollywood stars took to the “Me Too” movement. Many leading stars such as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Pooja Bhat and Varun Dhawan have come forward to lend their support to the many women speaking up about their encounters with sexual harassment. It’s a good sign that this movement has gained momentum. For ages, women and even men have been exploited by rich and powerful people. It all began by Tanushree Dutta who came forward and told that she was harassed by Nana Patekar on the sets of Horn Ok Pleasss, 10 years ago. Her bold stance gave courage to many women in the film industry and many have shared their ordeal. In fact the actress said that she had always spoken out in the past about her bad experience on the set of Horn Ok Pleasss. But, nobody took her seriously.
Sexual harassments take place in all sectors: There are perverts everywhere. The hospitality industry is said to be the worst. According to a research conducted in the US 90% of women and 70% of men have reported sexual crime faced by them. It is followed by technology, politics, and academia, healthcare and of course the entertainment industry. From the managers, co-workers to customers anybody who is powerful harasses the weaker person.
Sexual harassment at work place: this is a manifestation of deep rooted patriarchship prevailing in the larger society in India. Many small and medium sized businesses give employment to women where the work environment is hostile. Women workers are vulnerable to experience harassment and abuse. Economic dependence on the job for their livelihood, social perception of obeying the superiors, job insecurity and spilt over patriarchal biases into the work environment make the women more vulnerable to become victims of sexual harassment, which are hushed up.
A point to ponder seriously on: when we are fighting against exploitation of females, porn is getting popular than ever, according to various reports, currently, the porn industry’s net worth is about $97 billion. This money is enough to feed at-least 4.8 billion people a day. On the digital media cyber crime is increasing because nude photos have become money extortion medium for blackmailers. And, the biggest truth is prostitution is legalised in India. There are many brothels illegally operating in Indian cities including the metros. Most of the sex workers are forced into the business.
What about domestic violence? India is one of the worst countries in the world for women, in part because domestic violence is overlooked as personal matter, not to interfere in other’s life. A 2012 report by UNICEF found that 57 percent of Indian boys and 53 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 think wife-beating is justified. A recent national family-health survey also reported that a sizable percentage of women blame themselves for getting beaten by their husbands. When a boy grows up seeing his father assault his mother, he starts to accept such a behavior and repeats it.
Growing numbers of gang rapes: We lack public safety. Women generally aren’t protected outside their homes. The rapes occur in public transports, in schools, outskirts of cities and villages, sometimes even in homes. Many streets are poorly lit, and there’s a lack of decent sanitation. The toilets lack decency. Rape victims are often encouraged by village elders and clan councils to compromise with the family of accused and drop charges. Sometimes they are married off to the attacker.
Gravity of child sexual abuse: India’s attitude towards sexual abuse and child sexual abuse needs seriousness. A survey participated in by more than 45,000 children in the 12- 18 age group, across 26 states in the country, revealed that one in every two children is a victim of child sexual abuse. Conducted by World Vision India with a sample of 45,844 respondents, the survey also reported that that one in every five does not feel safe because of the fear of being sexually abused. It also found that one in four families do not come forward to report child abuse.
Sluggish law and order: The courts are terribly sluggish in India. The system is painfully slow due to shortage of judges. The country has about 15 judges for every 1 million people, while China has 159. A Delhi High Court judge once estimated it would take 466 years to get through the backlog in the capital city alone.
Few convictions: For rapes that do get reported, India’s conviction rate is about 26%. There is also no law on the books covering routine daily sexual harassment which is labelled as “eve-teasing.” Through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, Section 354, Section 354A, Section 354B, Section 354C and Section 354D were added to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which stipulate what consists of a sexual harassment offence and what the penalties shall be for a man committing such an offence; penalties range from one to three years imprisonment and/or a fine, which is negligible.