MeToo is a sensational movement that has left a great impact in the minds of people around the world. However, isn’t anyone curious as to how this movement got its name? Back in 2006, a social activist, Tarana Burka originally coined the phrase ‘MeToo’. She was having a conversation with a 13-year old girl who shared her experience of being sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend. In reply, Tarana Burke could only utter the phrase ‘me too’. That’s where this movement got its identity. Its main purpose was to send a message to all the survivors that they are not alone in this race and they can share their story without fear.
Tarana Burke in #MeToo survivors’ march
In 2017, it again gained recognition when American actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a request to her followers “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Within 24 hours, this tweet got viral on social media with numerous replies and posts, sharing their personal incident of sexual abuse.
#MeToo movement in India
On 26 September 2018, actress Tanushree Dutta gave an interview on Zoom TV, where she accused a renowned actor Nana Patekar of sexually assaulting her on the set of “Horn Ok Please”. In India, this incident became the initiation of MeToo movement. Tanushree Dutta’s interview inspired several women to raise their voices against sexual abusers. Names of several well-known celebrities like actor Alok Nath, minister MJ Akbar, director Vikas Bahl came up in the case of sexual abuse. People started raising their voice on social media. It brought such a strong impact that ultimately a big public figure like MJ Akbar had to resign from his post.
However, now the question is whether MeToo is a tool to trap or is it breaking silence to win the war? Let’s first analyze how is it breaking silence to win the war –
1. Gave voice to survivors
Movement like #MeToo has encouraged survivors of sexual abuse to speak about the incident that occurred with them and not to just remain silent about it. It gave them the power to speak about it publicly without the fear of being victimized. Earlier, survivors used to stay in dark with the fear that no one would hear or understand them. But this fear has been eradicated now. It gave them the voice, which was previously being subsided.
2. A strong message for sexual abusers
In India, thousands are cases are registered on a daily basis of sexual assault. How many of these cases are the general public aware of? Hardly. So, as the cases goes on for years in court, such cases are not revealed in public and thus sexual abusers move freely till a final verdict is out. But with the advent of #MeToo movement, a sexual abusers is recognized by the whole world. Thus, they would not attempt to make the same mistake again.
3. Illustrates the power of social media
We are often scared of filing a suit against people with power because there is always a fear that they would turn the case to their advantage and ultimately prove the victim wrong. But #MeToo movement gives survivors the power of social media where they can freely express their concerns. It is such a platform that can scare people with immense power as well. It also enables cases to be solved at the fastest pace possible.
However, with all the positive sides, there are negative ones as well. There is absolutely no doubt that MeToo is helping the survivors raise their voice against the abusers but some people are simplly using it as a propaganda to satisfy their personal vendetta.
1. Fulfilling personal grudges
Many people are just playing victim card in order to fulfill their personal grudges because it is very difficult to find evidence for an incident that happened years ago. Thus, it makes easier to declare them guilty.
2. Tainted reputation before the actual judgment
As discussed earlier, social media in very powerful in today’s world. So, a person is declared a sexual abuser even before the actual verdict is given by our judicial system. Thus, if the accusation is false and the person is actually innocent, still the mark of sexual abuser will stay with them forever and ever, thus tainting their reputation. Also, some people are anonymously sharing their stories and declaring the name of the offenders without even revealing their own true identity, thus the authenticity becomes questionable.
3. Revolves around celebrities
It has been a common observation since this movement came into picture; either the victim is a celebrity or the abuser is a celebrity. It seems as if common people are not a part of this movement. MeToo movement is highly acclaimed by everyone but it is a matter of concern that is it actually spread evenly across all the people who need it? Its main purpose was to help survivors raise their voices, but is it actually happening? Answer is no. Currently, only celebrities are raising voice, common people are still silent with a fear of victim shaming.
To conclude, we can say that #MeToo is a revolutionary movement which taught people that one must raise voice against sexual abuse and not be scared of being judged and ruining the rest of their life left. It is the offenders who should be scared to the deed that they have committed. This movement gave victims a ray of hope that humanity still prevails in the world. Yes, there are people taking undue advantage of this movement but that can be prevented by proper regulation. Behavioral change is needed to further reduce these kinds of crimes.