THE ME TOO CAMPAIGN
Hello everyone, how are you doing? This is Dr. Nalini Taneja from Aham I Am Enough Training Group. Today I thought to have a very important conversation with you all. I am sure you all have heard about the METOO CAMPAIGN. A campaign started by actress Alyssa Milano.
These two words have gone viral social media and are resonating with billions of people around the world who have faced any form of assault in their lives. Within the first twenty-four hours the hastag metoo had been used or 12 million times on Facebook alone. Tons and thousands of people are using this hashtag to express their solidarity towards an issue that has become a cancer in the society we live in. From celebrities and members of parliament, teachers to software engineers, students to mothers and fathers people are reminding us all, of the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault. Seeing the numbers, it is clear as how common this kind of behavior can be. Most accounts are personal and painful, some going back to childhood memories and some accounts of sexual harrassment at workplaces.
It can and does happen anywhere, to anyone.
Picture courtesy: CNN
Among us who have taken public transport in India we have horrifying stories to share and we would end of remaining silent because of fear. We are culturally taught to be silent. I am reminded of a friend who is highly educated and professionally qualified when she walked up to her mother and expressed to her what her maternal uncle was doing to her, the mother just said, “why are you creating such a hue and cry this happens a lot. You are not the only one going through it.” I myself did not talk about the time when it happened to me when the son of my father’s best friend assaulted me and I did not speak about it to anyone as he had threatened me and I was only eight years old. As my friend colleague said we all have stories to share about it happening to us with people we trust – our family members, friends, uncles and relatives. And in the professional scenario our bosses and colleagues are doing it day in and day out. I recall one day at a dinner organized for all friends this topic came up and I mustered up enough courage to acknowledge that it happened to me multiple times what followed with that admission shocked and unnerved me completely. All eighteen of us admitted to having gone through similar experiences in their lives.
Picture courtesy: CNN
Another important issue I wanted to talk about is related to this. It is the issue of domestic violence. How many women face this on a day-to-day basis? Irrespective of your education, social status and qualifications women across the globe face it and the worst case is they do not speak about it. It is an everyday phenomenon happening in homes like yours and mine. There seems to be nothing unusual about it. Everyday experiences for thousands of women so common that they have accepted it and have learnt to live with it. They rarely talk about, share their experiences and never ever tell their stories. We post on social media we had breakfast, and went shopping but not my partner beat me today.
Is there no way out? Ofcourse there is. But the first step as shown in the movie Secret superstar is to let go of the fear. Stand up to the power that makes you, you. Have the confidence and the courage to stand tall on your feet.
Recently saw the movie Secret Superstar- first of congratulations to the entire team for making such a powerful movie. The way in the end the woman stands up to her husband and looks him in the eye clearly stating enough is enough is the kind of courage we all need and require. We need to have faith and confidence in our power and let no one trample over that under any circumstances. We need to teach our sons and daughters about sexual and domestic violence and what to do in case they face it.
WHAT TO DO?
1. If you are a teacher, a parent an older sibling teach the young ones about good touch and bad touch. It is not just with girls but also boys we all know what happened to young IIIrd standard boy recently. Children do not know it is our prime responsibility as adults and guardians to protect the young ones.
2. Do not take it lying down. Shout back at that person, hit him, report to the adults in the family or go to the nearest police station. It is unacceptable and have the confidence to stand up to it.
3. If you notice someone in the bus or the train being harassed create noise around it. A friend told me that other day a man was constantly staring at a young girl in on the train till the girl became visibly uncomfortable. She confronted him and blocked his view and blasted him for his ridiculous behaviour.
4. Let go of the fear. You are not doing anything wrong. You are being assaulted. We tolerate it as nobody speaks about it. Major change happens only when we heighten the level of awareness around it. Confront it and deal with it.
5. We by that I mean You and Me should make sure this does not go out of our minds and become yesterdays news. It should be a part of our everyday dialogue. We should talk about this to our colleagues, our house help, our friends and also strangers. We should write to media houses and seasoned journalists like Barkha Dutt, Arnab Goswami and many others among them should talk about it and create awareness about it.
The silence around it needs to be broken. It is violence against the very thing that makes human and it needs to be addressed. No one and nobody should have the right to invade upon what is yours. Violence of any kind whether it is sexual or domestic should not be tolerated. And this can only happen when we as individuals learn to respect ourselves and live the values of honouring our bodies.
For all those who have decided to speak about it I have nothing but utmost respect and appreciation. A round of huge applause who are sharing their stories and breaking the silence around these monstrous acts that violate everything that makes us human. All these pioneers need to give themselves a pat on their backs as their actions are going to create safer environments that will help others to flourish and thrive in a world devoid of domestic violence and sexual violence. You all are the role models who are paving the path you are the teachers who are teaching that it is important to say no and speak up. Thank you and heartfelt gratitude to all for sharing the stories and standing tall in your space.