Social Issues

All You Need To Know About The #MeToo & #TimesUp Campaign

It’s an important moment for women.

Sexual harassment used to go unchecked, where women had to silently endure the pain and trauma of a grope, a kiss, unsolicited genital pictures, or remotely anything that made them uncomfortable. Going by what’s happening in social media right now, it’s imperative to acknowledge that the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement in India is merely catching up, with women (anonymous and open) talking about years and years of abuse they’ve faced. There’s a moment of catharsis that India is undergoing and there’s no reason why it should stop anytime soon.

The #MeToo movement is against sexual harassment, particularly at the workplace. American social activist Tarana Burke used the term way back in 2006 and it was popularised by Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano in 2017 after she implored everybody to use the hashtag if they ever faced any sort of harassment. This was right in the heels of the infamous Harvey Weinstein expose, a top Hollywood honcho who was known to be a sexual predator who targeted actresses, interns, writers, and other women who worked under him, often asking them for sexual favours in exchange to boost their careers.

The Time’s Up is an initiative, much like #MeToo, that rallies against sexual harassment. It was founded on January 1, 2018, by various Hollywood celebrities in response to the Harvey Weinstein expose. It aims to state that once called out, the harasser’s time is up, much like an hourglass. 

In the past few days, Twitter India has had women coming out with their stories. Right from talking about men in media to popular singers, lyricists, actors, producers, and plenty more – women have had enough of putting up with this behaviour and calling them out. While this is being dubbed as India’s #MeToo and #TimesUp movement which was was originally started by student Raya Sarkar’s list of sexual harassers in academia (LoSHA) last year, this year the moment gained more attention a week ago when former actress Tanushree Dutta shared how veteran actor Nana Patekar abused and harassed her ten years ago.

From Kollywood, singer Chinmayi Sripada has been sharing stories of gross misconduct by various men from the industry, including narrating her own experience with National Award winning lyricist Vairamuthu. She has been collating stories of other women, too, making it more about the movement and the idea of putting a stop to such behaviour. Ridiculed, trolled, and even slut-shamed, Chinmayi has been one of the few voices speaking up about harassment in the industry, a risk that could even get her blacklisted, a fate that Tanushree Dutta met with.

Right now, actresses such as Samantha Akkineni, Raashi Khanna, composer Ghibran, musician TM Krishna, and plenty more are in support of the movement. There is the fear that the movement might die down, much like other movements in the past, but it is certainly something that will resurface again and again in various forms. Workplace harassment is real, where women are exploited, touched without their consent, and it’s only talked about among friends because there’s a whole lot to lose once they speak up. But with the movements, things are getting better and once you believe the survivor, there’s no reason why this movement wouldn’t thrive.

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