Suddenly the unwelcome realisation has hit us. Social media is flooded with it. Don’t think that the malice of sexual harassment is beyond our belief. We just never spoken about it. #MeToo is gaining ground in India is an understatement. There is no surprise at the depth and width of this malice. Look at the list of predators. Judges, Comedians, Stars, People with clean Sanskari image, Directors, Authors, Reputed influencers, Editors, Agency owners, Brand Managers, Event organisers and colleagues across the professions.
Saying Sorry Won’t do.
‘We are Sorry’, ‘We failed to address it’ are stupid shields of excuse. Let, the corporates know that this is the time for them to come out in the open. Let them accept and acknowledge cases where inaction and silence have overtly or covertly encouraged such behaviour and discouraged the victim. There must be transparency. The public will no longer accept a late waking up of any corporate however big or small with apologies after they are exposed. #MeTooGuiltyOfSilence
Think of women in the work environment. For long she has been forced to accept there is no escape. She must be one of the men. She must bear jokes and conversations with sexual overtones. Many of them created a shield of known people around themselves. Many find ways to stay away from such situations. Most in such a situation give up in one of the two ways. Some choose to leave the job, some succumb to the lure and demands of their ambition. Few ever fight.
It’s constraining, but it is a way to survive. Rarely are complaints raised. And hardly many find the right ears. Inaction and silence are seen as a covert approval of actions and encouragement.
Every Act Is Not Harassment.
It is not that every act can and should be seen as sexual harassment. I personally think that some of the situations reported are trivialising the issue. It is definitely sexual harassment if an objection is raised, feeling of discomfort is communicated or felt, if the predator fails to understand what does ‘No’ means and the action continues. Sexual harassment is not only physical. It can be verbal abuse or plain intimidation.
Stop Blaming The Victim and ensure no one is falsely accused.
There was always a ‘chalta hai’, ‘kuch Kiya toh Nahi na’, it happens attitude. Everyone sees the women’s fault. There are enough experts in the game of sexual harassment who will tell her what would/could/should have instigated and encouraged the man. There is blatant victimisation of the already suffering woman. victim. It ensures rarely someone finds the courage to report it to the relevant person in the organisation, forget about filing an FIR with the police.
The predator roams free. He gets an additional chip on his shoulder and confidence to mark the next victim.
People in the surrounding ecosystem fail to raise their voice and questions the behaviour. In such a situation, is it right to expect the victim to have the courage to raise an alarm?
Still, we must give benefit of the doubt to all the women who are sharing their experience. More so, when they have taken a big step in no longer remaining anonymous and also named the person. However, before the media trial that can ruin someone’s career, family and life, give everyone a chance to respond.
You Must Be Blind And Deaf Not To Seen or Heard a #MeToo incident.
We did not need #MeToo to know how common sexual harassment is in the workplace. Naturally, there are far too many of us who never acted or rised voice. Our inaction and silience further encouraged such behaviour. Sexual harassment like any other act of oppression feeds on such inaction, silence and fear.
It may seem I am speaking of men only. The women in the ecosystem are equally guilty of this silence and inaction.
Are You Man Enough To Say #MeTooGuiltyOfsilence Or #MeTooGuiltyOfInAction.
Do you have the guts to acknowledge when you were wrong? In case you have consciously and unconsciously, knowingly or unknowingly supported or indulged in what could be considered now a sexually inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, then you are #MeTooGuiltyOfSilence or #MeTooGuiltyOfInAction
In case you can cross your heart and with all honesty seriously and sincerely believe and conclude that you have never been a part of sexual harassment, exploitation or indirect encouragement of it. #NotMe are the brave ones who you have never even closed their eyes and walked away from the scene because of inherent threat,
Every man knows, what is an inappropriate behaviour and what makes women uncomfortable. Most of them have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to creating an environment that accepts and encourages such inappropriate behaviour.
Lookback at your life and evaluate you actions and inactions. Then say #MeTooGuiltyOfSilence or #MeTooGuiltyOfInAction or #NotMe
Have you ever been part of an act that could be termed sexual harassment or could have made women uncomfortable? Have you shared explicit jokes in the presence of women? It does not matter, what your intent was. It did not matter if they were not crossing the line. Have you never glanced at cleavages and other body parts of women? Have you never comment on colleagues dress sense and body type in sexist tone? Have you suggested/commented on women character without any evidence?
have you remained silent knowing someone was being harassed? Have you suggested/hinted/recommended sexual favours as an offer/solution to any issue/problem? Have used position and power to feel, kiss, brush, press, caress, touch, dance or hold women against her wishes in those warmly hugs? Encouraged the women team members to break a hard client deal, knowing that it was more than just the talent that was being used?
Be honest in your thinking and intent. Share #MeTooGuiltyOfSilence or #MeTooGuiltyOfInAction or #NotMe after evaluating your behaviour.