#MeToo Movement in India


#metoo movement

The ‘Me Too’ movement or the ‘#MeToo’ movement had existed for long but rose to popularity back in 2017, when an American actress Alyssa Milano encouraged people to tweet about the sexual harassment and assaults they have faced in order for other people to get the magnitude of the problem.

 

Even though initially the movement was restricted to incidents in the workplace, it soon spread to people talking about their experiences in all walks of life. Many people from actresses to activists and even commoners started tweeting about it which led to a huge uproar and the realisation for the need to change in the society.

The movement gained new momentum in September 2018 when Christine Balsey Ford who is an American professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine along with other women accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the Trump nominated candidate for Supreme Court Justice, of sexually assaulting them decades ago. Even though Brett Kavanaugh won the vote and proceeded to become the next Justice of Supreme Court of the United States of America, what Ford’s allegations did was give people, especially women the support they needed to come out with their stories against people of influence and power.

As the movement spread across the world and took many new and old shapes and forms, so it did in India too. Indian women have come out in huge numbers with posts on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and they have not kept quite, not even about the power yielding people this time. Thousands of allegations and accusations rolled down on the internet overnight and in the past few weeks where women took forward the #MeToo movement and talked about their cases of sexual assaults and sexual harassment.

As more and more allegations poured in, people from all walks of life where found to be the predators. Whether it be famous actors, film directors, casting directors, writers, company CEOs etc, have all been called out publicly for their actions.

One important case was when Saloni Chopra, a true feminist and an actress spoke about her first few dreadful years in the Indian film industry and the horrendous experiences she had with reputed directors Sajid Khan and Vikas Bahl. Ironically, Vikas Bahl the director of the blockbuster ‘Queen’, a movie so eloquent in modern ideals of women, does not believe in it in real life. Saloni talked about different kinds of abuse and harassment as she wrote about three distinct incidents in her life surrounding sexual harassment and sexual assault. 

Another major breakthrough was when accusations against the founders and CEOs of All India Bakchod (AIB), a famous comedic YouTube channel, surfaced in the past weeks and the company took a major step while addressing the concerns of its huge fan base and asked Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba to temporarily step down.

 

 

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Allegations against the famous Indian writer Chetan Bhagat also came up on social media wherein screenshots of him trying to ‘woo’ a woman journalist where shared online. He was already married to his wife, Anusha Bhagat, back then. Since then he has accepted that the screenshots are real and has come out with a public apology on Facebook asking the readers to forgive him.

 

 

 

One of the most shocking incidents which took everyone by storm and shook the Bollywood industry was when actress Tanushree Dutta talked about her allegations of how she was sexually harassed by Nana Patekar on the set of 2008 film Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss. Below is a detailed account of the same from an interview she gave to News18.

 

As the movement took many other influential people in its grasp a major breakthrough for the Indians was on Wednesday, October 17, as MJ Akbar who faces multiple charges of sexual harassment, resigned as Union Minister of State for the Ministry of External Affairs. Even though he has denied every single allegation until now, the case looks weak on his front solely because he has appointed 97 lawyers to work on the case for him against the minority of accusers.  

 

People have taken largely to social media to condemn his actions and lift the #MeToo movement and shown tremendous support to the victims and rested their beliefs in their stories. Many other influential people, from stand up comedians Vir Das, Kaneez Surka and other actors of the Bollywood industry, famous activists and the youth has shown their interest and concern for the society they live in by talking about the #MeToo movement openly.

As a lot of different movements emerge from within the broader spectrum of the #MeToo movement and people work to change the environment and the kinds of relationships they have, hopefully the success of this movement will be felt much later when the world is a better place at large.

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