#MeToo : What it does NOT mean

The first thing I saw yesterday morning was Andrea Gibson’s Me too status. It left me a little bit puzzled. But the minute I delved into it, the whole thing got pretty clear.

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By the end of the day, I opened my Facebook timeline to see almost every girl write a #MeToo status. It had spread across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. A huge number of sexual assault and harassment survivors are sharing their stories online. An untold number of women posted “me too” and revealed their deeply intimate experiences of abuse. Their stories flooded social media and painted a picture of just how many people endure sexual abuse and harassment every day.

For a long time, most women defined their own sexual harassment and assault in this way: as something unspoken, something private, something to be ashamed of acknowledging. Silence, although understandable, has its cost. A decade ago, I couldn’t have conceived of the fact that so many women had experienced sexual coercion or intimidation; now, I’d be surprised if I could find a single one who hadn’t. On Sunday afternoon, the actress Alyssa Milano used her Twitter account to encourage women who’d been sexually harassed or assaulted to tweet the words #MeToo. In the last 24 hours, a spokesperson from Twitter confirmed, the hashtag had been tweeted nearly half a million times. – The Atlantic 

More than 30,000 women, and some men, had replied to the tweet by Monday morning. Thousands of others have posted the words on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. It has been harrowing, heartening and most of all, traumatic for me to see just who all, and how many of us have been silenced. It took me back to the time I spoke up about my own assault and had more than 25 others come upto me saying they had similar stories.

And while this is primarily a “women-centric” campaign, Some men also joined in including Javier Muñoz, who is best known for playing Alexander Hamilton in the broadway musical Hamilton. He said: “Me too. I don’t know if means anything coming from a gay man but it’s happened. Multiple times.” A lot of my own male friends have stood by while telling their own stories.

And while the magnitude of the #Metoo is enough to get me off axis, what wasn’t surprising was the amount of hate it got. It’s like a central axis divide where some men in my friend list are either completely opposing the campaign saying the “feminazi” are going at it again or there’s the kind that say “Hey you women always forget men go through these issues too.” , thus completely taking over the whole thing by saying women have a tendency to make things about themselves and hype things up in the name of feminism.

Well, let me tell you what feminism is NOT. Or the #MeToo campaign is NOT.

  • When a woman says she was abused, molested, assaulted or raped, it takes her more courage to say that than you could ever fathom. Her, accepting something like this happened to her, in a society where the immediate reaction is either victim blaming or suspicion as to why it wasn’t reported earlier, it takes all there is inside us, to admit it actually happened. In that moment, we are NOT making a dig at men.
  • Imagine living a life where all you hear is  ‘you’re just over-reacting’, he ‘didn’t mean it’, he’s ‘a good person, don’t worry’ and worst of all — ‘he’s harmless’ while you shudder through it all and have to “let it pass in dignity without making a scene” This is how we silence victims. And we are finally speaking up.
  • Nowhere in the statement Me too, is a woman pointing fingers so the #NotAllMen, makes absolutely no sense.
  • Men, assault, rape and molestation arent “women-centric issues”. If you have been through something similar, participate. Join us in saying Me Too. It’s about letting the magnitude of sexual crimes show. Nowhere are we limiting this to gender. If a person is molested, their gender, in no way plays a role in how heinous the act was.
  • For every time I talk about equality, there is always a man telling me “men go through trouble too, just because we don’t raise our voices doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”

Then men, Raise your voices.

  • Sexual assault is not limited to a specific gender. While women at large are victims of someone’s perversion, there are men and them too who have been a victim of sexual harassment and abuse. And No one is denying that.

 

  • Women, when they fight for their own rights, are in no way asking for yours to be taken away. It never ceases to amaze me how men have the ability to make everything about themselves. For every time I talk about a women’s issue from pay gap to healthcare to stigma to simple family patriarchy, there’s always a man either trying to “explain” it to me as to how I am making a big deal out of nothing, or worse, telling me how “Men go through problems too.”

So tell me this, How, I really fail to see, how, when I say I was abused am I pointing fingers at you? It’s a fact, that 1 in every three girls has been raped and abused. It is a fact. How is that, denying that you haven’t been through pain?

Feminism is about equality.

Look up stats. UN reports say a woman is 70% more likely to be abused than a man is. A woman gets paid less than a man is. Women are almost 51% of the population yet US reports 20% representation in the government. The list goes on. And on. And On.

Nowhere, when a woman asks for her equal share, is she asking for a man’s part of the share. Nowhere is a woman telling a man is lesser. The sole purpose of the Me Too campaign was for us to say it out loud. To stand alongside others who need that. To make people hear.

And if you are here, telling me how it’s just a cry for attention and men go through same problems too, just goes to show what we have been saying all along. Stop making it about yourself. It not. And it never will be.

PS : Unlike many kinds of social-media activism, #MeToo isn’t a call to action or the beginning of a campaign, culminating in a series of protests and speeches and events. It’s simply an attempt to get people to understand the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in society. To get women, and men, to raise their hands.

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