Twitter has propelled the MeToo movement in India and Bollywood has come under the scanner, big-time. Before Bollywood, the MeToo Movement has caused the first major casualty with the resignation of Indian union minister M.J. Akbar, accused of sexual harassment, during his career as a journalist. EurAsian Times talks to Psychologist – Sunila Wali from Johns Hopkins University on the MeToo Movement and why Bollywood actresses have been reporting the sexual harassment cases, after decades of silence.
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History of MeToo Movement
MeToo movement is not something which was started on Twitter by Alyssa Milano or few bunch of women who came out against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The MeToo movement was actually started by civil right activist Tarana Burke in the year 2006. The movement found its ground in the year 2018 and has been a turning point for women fighting for equality and justice across the world.
MeToo in Bollywood
MeToo movement finally reached India when Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta blamed actor Nana Patekar for sexual harassment which took place about 10 years ago. Dutta said that this happened in 2008 in a movie set. The spark did not take time to turn into a wildfire. Sooner than later, allegations started pouring-in against almost all Bollywood biggies.
Veteran actor Alok Nath also found himself in neck-deep allegations after producer-writer Vinta Nanda alleged that she was raped by him 19 years ago. She alleged that this horrific act was repeated once again when the duo had to work together on a show later.
Later, actor Sandhya Mridul and Deepika Amin also accused Alok Nath of sexual harassment. Not only that, Bollywood biggies – Director Subhash Ghai and Rajat Kapoor, Singer Kailash Kher and other prominent personalities like Anu Malik, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan, Zain Durrani, Varun Grover and Luv Ranjan were all accused of sexual molestation in the MeeToo drive.
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Social Experts on MeeToo
For a very long time, there has been an immense usage of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to highlight sexual harassments women have faced in some or the other point of their lives. It is indeed a very courageous step to speak about their horrific experiences and narrate it to the whole world. Finally, these women have started coming out of their shells and taken a step towards protecting their self-respect and dignity, says Psychologist Sunila Wali
However, what has saddening is that there are eyes filled with suspiciousness when someone narrates their ordeal which has occurred around 10 years ago. Why did it take so long to disclose? Why should we believe now? Are you even telling the truth or just playing the women card to defame an innocent man?
The Psychologist from Johns Hopkins University says: Incidents of sexual harassment deeply affects the victim physically, mentally and emotionally. Circumstances like these push the victim into the trauma that haunts them for an extended period. So much so that they start confiding in themselves and cut off from the external atmosphere. It results in psychological issues which they have to face it alone.
Moreover, in a patriarchal society like ours, especially the men find it difficult to accept a trauma undergone by someone else and malign the story as redundant. However, when it comes to the chronicles narrated by their closed ones, they tend to be protective. This hypocrisy is something which has been passed on from generations to generations and has to be changed.
Nevertheless, every coin has two sides. This theory applies to each narration of harassment. If the social media has given the platform to women to put forth their experience, even the accused should be given due space to narrate their side as well.
Last but not least, expecting every victim to file a case in the first place rather than sharing it on social media is also not possible. This is because it involves their families as well. We as a society have not progressed to such a level that we question the accused rather than the victim. Even today, it is the victim whose reputation is tarnished. We must teach the boys to respect women rather than teaching girls on how to self-defence, concludes Sunila.
By: Apoorva Iyer with inputs from Rajesh Anand
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