As the Me Too movement gradually gains momentum in India, the signs are evident. Me Too is a wave that is sure to become entirely game changing and revolutionary. It will brook no resistance once it becomes a tornado. Even
common women from towns and cities across the country will open up to share experiences which had left them shaken and shattered in the past. They will join the dozens of high profile victims who have now found the inner resolve to share details of how they were molested or harassed by well known personalities.
There are a few important aspects to this Me Too movement which must be discussed by society. It is no secretthat women have been subjected to atrocities of many kinds over the centuries in a largely male dominated land. This columnist has mentioned in the past, the need for families to bring up their boys in a manner which cultivates in them respect for female folk who do not belong to their immediate circles. Girls who are neighbours, aunties, college mates, fellow passengers, shoppers and sales girls- women who are in no way related to these boys. Young men need to learn to behave in just a gentlemanly a manner with them, as they do with the ladies at home.
But the Me Too movement is sure to curtail, if not minimize, incidents of exploitation of women by high profile men who should know better. The invisible veneer of invincibility which a successful film producer or a powerful CEO thought to exist around him has vanished now. Any woman who is aware of the tremendous support received by Me Too participants will hopefully not shy away from exposing attempts to outrage her modesty in future.It is also a fact that the time has finally come for such a strong and unheard of barrage of allegations. It was not possible for people to Tweet 12 years ago. It was impossible for anyone to post anything on Facebook 15 years ago. These platforms simply did not exist then. How many people possess the wherewithal to summon a press conference, even today?
There was no outlet, no channel, no window for these sufferers who must have spent sleepless nights in pain at the
thought of what they had gone through. It is no secret that men have sex on their minds many more times than do
women. The very act of making an unwarranted move when they find a woman alone is a predatory act. Men know this well. Yet they indulge in conduct which is unpardonable to the core. But men in power will have to think a great deal about their gentlemanliness or the lack of it henceforth. Those creating jokes about the Me Too movement are grossly insensitive people.
Names of personalities as diverse as Lasith Malinga and Alok Nath have surfaced in the current ‘Me Too’ tour-de-force. It is certain that many more names will tumble out of closets in due course. Those who had committed acts worthy of exposure must be terrified of what might happen to their reputations. On the other hand, there are bound to be false allegations that emerge from such an upheaval. And the media’s tendency will always be to gun for the big guns, should a complaint against a mega star, politician or business honcho come up. In no time will the name of a hitherto admired personality be sullied. Those making claims which are later proved absolutely false have to be penalized by law, just as perpetrators of crime are bound to be. Only then will the voices of the true victims be heard and those of opportunists doused.
Yet, it is my view that the exception still proves the rule. For every 1000 women who speak up truthfully after having lived in silence for years, there will be one odd fabricator who conjures up a complaint in order to tarnish someone’s hard earned reputation. It is incumbent upon us all to take seriously the resurgent voices of women which had been throttled for ages. Me Too is here to stay, and women are all set to walk with more confidence than ever before.