From '#MeToo' to we too...

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From '#MeToo' to we too...

There’s a lot to read and watch on social media these days. But of late, two words have been garnering much attention. The ‘#MeToo’ campaign is bringing together women from across the world who have experienced some form of sexual assault or harassment. 

#MeToo started trending after multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein came to the light. This campaign is different because many big names in the film industry are opening up about being sexually harassed. This has now spread like wildfire and women from different professions are now speaking up about their experiences and how they handled it.

So how did it all begin? It started with Hollywood actor Alyssa Milano, who took to Twitter and wrote, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” And since social media is so quick to support or oppose, this soon became one of the most tweeted hashtags across mediums.

The latest to jump on the bandwagon is Monica Lewinsky. Closer home, we have actors like Parvathy, Rima Kallingal and filmmaker Sreebala K Menon who have taken to Facebook and spoken about their experiences.

So what is about this campaign that evokes extreme emotions among us? Do we really think a hashtag can make a difference? Will voicing our thoughts make women feel safer? Maybe and maybe not.

Actor and standup comedian Sumukhi Suresh too has joined the #MeToo campaign. “It just makes me drop my shoulders and almost give up that there are so many women who are going through so much. And this is just the ones with access to internet. Imagine the women outside this!” she says.

“It also bothers me a lot that there are people thinking this isn’t going to help at all. The fact that women and in some cases men are coming forward with their stories. This is helping others come forward and not be scared,” she adds.

For the last couple of days, since the hashtag has been trending, every other person on social media is talking about their experiences. However, it’s great to see that men are also coming out in support of the campaign. Along with ‘#MeToo’, they are hashtagging ‘#IHearYou’ and assuring women that they will be more supportive and watchful from now on. There are also a couple of honest ones who are using the hashtag ‘#IDidIt’ and admitting their mistake.

Nitya Sriram, a freelance writer, says, “If nothing else, #MeToo brings out individual voices and experiences that are lost in statistics when we talk about things like sexual harassment. It has not only exposed the sheer magnitude of the issue but also brought out the various intersections (gender, sexuality, class etc) involved.”

Even though this has reignited a much-needed debate around the issue of women’s safety, we still have a long way to go and avoid a part two.

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