I know that I may suffer a huge backlash for writing what I am going to write but it is an inner-calling to write about it and I am in no position to suppress it. I am all prepared for any backlash. This is about ongoing #MeToo campaign on social media, the way it is carried on and my views over it as I feel this is largely a one-sided campaign & we have to look at the other side of coin too, especially in this Jupiter in Libra season which is all about maintaining balance. Let's break this article in following points -
Origin of #MeToo.
Kudos to Campaign.
Other Side of Campaign.
Let's begin -
Origin of #MeToo - Actually the origin of #MeToo is not recent. Its origin is way back in 2006 when it was created by community organizer Tarana Burke as part of a grassroots campaign to promote "empowerment through empathy" among women of color who have experienced sexual abuse, particularly within underprivileged communities. Burke, who is creating a documentary titled "Me Too," has said she inspired to use the phrase after being unable to respond to a 13-year-old girl who confided to her that she had been sexually assaulted. Burke later wished she had simply told the girl, "me too." But it became a widespread campaign in Oct, 2017 only after actress Alyssa Milano made accusations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein and encouraged spreading the phrase as part of an awareness campaign to show the scale of the problem, tweeting: "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too.' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem." (Courtesy - Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_too_(hashtag).
Ongoing Campaign - And since then there has been a flood of posts on all social media platforms with #MeToo where people shared their past traumatic experiences of sexual harassment. The hashtag had been used more than 200,000 times by October 15, and tweeted more than 500,000 times by October 16. On Facebook, the hashtag had been used by more than 4.7 million people in 12 million posts during the first 24 hours. (Courtesy - Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_too_(hashtag).
Kudos to Campaign - First of all, huge applause to all the people who have spoken about their sexual harassment and I am specially pleased to see Indians speaking about. For centuries, India had remained a sexually repressed country and any talk about sexual matters is often done in a hush-hush manner. So, it is a giant leap for Indians to speak about it in open social platform. We may never be able to find out the exact reason why some people behave in such a way but we can only reduce the incidents if we start talking about it openly. If society starts taking a serious note of these issues and start acting then future potential offenders will be scared. Also, there can't be any worse way to gravitate any issue than to try to neglect/ignore it. As I say often in my astro-articles, we can mitigate the damage only through awareness. So, it is necessary to speak about these issues and spread awareness.
Other Side of Campaign - But somehow I feel that this campaign is heavily one-sided. The basic appeal by Alyssa Milano itself said - "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too.' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem". This appeal itself suggests that we are not looking at the problem as a whole. Are we saying that only Women can be sexually harassed and not men? Are we saying that there can't be any false allegation of sexual harassment by either side? Are their no other ways by which a harassment can take place because of gender? I only want to say that if you are running a campaign then it has to be a balanced campaign. It can't be tilted totally in favor of this side or that side. I have written enough on relationship/marriage and many may have felt that I am also not balanced in my approach. They may have felt that I am pro-woman in matters of relations and keep a soft corner for them. Actually, I was just waiting for the right opportunity and this campaign gave me that opportunity. So, here are the things which I feel should have been included in #MeToo campaign -
- Male Vs Female - The way this campaign has been run on social media by people, it is more looking like Male Vs Female issue. It is posing every female as an innocent victim and every male as a potential offender. Campaign invites only Women to share their experiences, does it mean that Men don't face sexual harassment? So far only one male celebrity (as per my little knowledge) has shared his experience of facing sexual harassment by a female. If there is one then rest assured that there are many others who idn't speak out. Here, we have to appreciate the utmost courage of this male celeb to speak about it because we have to understand that a man is supposed to show himself as strong masculine identity and it is not natural/easy for a man to come-up and present himself as victim. Remember that a man is not even allowed to cry from childhood else "what type of boy you are"? This unnecessary burden of being a man will hold them back from sharing their traumatized experiences. Another thing is that if a woman comes up with her such experiences then it is easy to get sympathized with her but such sympathy will rarely come for a man. So, it had been better if the basic thought of this campaign would have been inclusive and all the victims had been invited to share their thoughts, not only women. Also, give due attention and respect when a Man says #MeToo.
- False Accusation - And can we say that all the allegations of sexual harassment are genuine? Here I can tell you from my experience of 5 years as an Advocate that the most misused Sections of IPC are Section 354 (outrage of modesty) and Section 498A (Domestic Violence case against in-laws). These are the easiest allegations to make but the most difficult to prove. Conviction rate in section 354 are very low and even as low as 1% in some states. May be due to this low conviction rate only courts have put some restrictions on the need of immediate arrest of accused unless potential prima-facie evidence is found. So, here comes the another point that person, against whom a false sexual harassment allegation is made, is the actual victim. He should be allowed to speak about his situation under such/like campaigns so that this other side of harassment should also come in light but are we really ready to listen anyone who is accused of any offence? Maximum population feels that if a letter of complaint is given in Police Station against X person then he is criminal without doubt. Well, that letter can be given against anyone at anytime but main thing is proving the guilt not merely making allegations. Would anyone who made a false allegation against anyone else of sexual harassment come up and say #MeToo made a false allegation against someone else and true victim was the other person. If you are so concerned about harassment done to you, for which I am fully sympathetic, then why you are not sympathetic towards harassment done by you to others?
- I brought Section 498-A here as I know of many cases during my practice days and now as counselor where women have threatened to file or actually filed against men and their families if they have not come to terms with her. Law/Courts have always taken a sympathetic view towards Woman but is it not the way to take undue advantage of your gender and harassing a man because he falls in category of another gender. And do I need to bring Divorce Dealings which happen these days? I have seen cases where Woman has bargained for even a Flat at Mumbai to give Divorce? Is it not harassment of Man and his family? Any campaign against them? Would these women ever say #MeToo harassed a whole family and taken undue advantage of the genuine sympathy of Law/Courts/Society towards my Gender?
- And finally comes my experiences in Corporate World where how often it happened that suddenly a Team Member becomes the focal point of project. Reason? Because he/she is a "Close Friend" of Manager or Senior Manager. Is it not taking undue advantage of your gender? Is it not giving a signal to other team members that if they also want to "rise up the ladder" then better be "Close Friends" with someone who is already up the ladder. This is an indirect sexual harassment of the one who doesn't want to take such routes and want to progress through sheer hard work and honesty. This person knows that no matter how much he/she works hard, they will never get benefits or due favor because they are not in the list of "Close Friends" of high-ups. Would any high-up or "close friend" ever say #MeToo directly/indirectly harassed others to gain in career?
Balanced Campaign - Any campaign must be a balanced campaign. It should look at all the alternative options or possibilities and then address all the issues. In this Jupiter in Libra season, we are bound to look at the balancing energy. We can't be this side or that side. If this campaign is only about gaining a month of headline in social media then run it as you like. You will have a fame of 30 days and after that people will forget it as they forgot many other campaigns, no-issues. But if you want a serious outcome of this campaign and awareness spread then you have to take all points into consideration. It is easy to see a direct harassment and speak about it but what about the indirect/subtle harassment almost everyone faces everyday. Harassment can be from anyone to anyone and in direct/indirect forms. If you are so concerned about harassment then have a campaign against all types of harassment.
Conclusion - Last but not the least, I recently saw a video of Alyssa Sharpe in which she said similar to this effect - "if God is anything then it is balancing energy". You do something somewhere and if it is not as per universal plans then at the very moment an alternate option/energy will be created and balance it out. This article got birth the day #MeToo campaign started and it was heavily tilted in favor of Woman. As I said in start, this campaign is great but it should be a balanced one.