What does #me too mean?

Have you noticed a lot of #me too’s on facebook, twitter and almost every other form of social media? Here we delve into what it means and what got it started.

What is the #MeToo hashtag and why is it so popular?

It started with an audio clip with a distressed Ambra Guitterez. Producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of being a sexual nuisance and has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Martial arts and Sciences by its board of regulators. He is said to have intimately stressed or sexually assaulted a number of women over the past thirty years. Actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan are among those who have come out publically on Weinstein. Meryl Streep and Judie Dench, two of Hollywood’s most respected actresses, have said that they were unaware of his decades of alleged sexual harassment.  Over 30 women – Angelina Jolie to Gwyneth Paltrow – have emerged to allege disturbing experiences with Weinstein as a growing chorus of public figures has shifted to denounce him.

Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday – She urged any women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to write two words on Twitter: “Me too.” Since then, thousands of women have gone on to post their #me too’s on various social media platforms.

alyssa milano tweet

That was how it started, with more and more people, men and women coming online to talk about the ills of sexual harassment of women all over the world.

What is the relevance of #me too?

Sexual harassment is something that seldom gets to be in the limelight unless there is a violent sexual crime. Disgusting infringements of personal rights happen day in and day out, at home, on the way to work and school, at school and work, everywhere. Most women are left dazed in an explosion of helplessness and an unexplainable guilt. It often happens so quickly that retaliation becomes impossible. Now that more people talk about it, one does not have to wait for it to be a personal experience to be prepared for it. This collective voice would also serve as a warning to perpetrators and as a signal to the lawmakers. The problem is huge! Take notice!

 Now what?

The legislation against sexual harassment already exists in India. It needs to be publicized and enforced. Women are a strong lot, seeing them unite and bravely open up a Pandora’s box, makes you wonder, Is this the third wave of sexual harassment activism? We sure hope it is!

“Legislation against sexual harassment in the workplace became a reality two years ago when the 2010 Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Bill was formulated.The act seeks to create a safe, secure, and enabling workplace environment free from all forms of sexual harassment and makes it mandatory for all organizations, including private sector organizations, to form committees, headed by women, for the inquiry and assessment of complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace. The bill terms any unwelcome sexual behavior or advances-verbal, physical, graphic or electronic, including SMS- and humiliating or hostile conduct as sexual harassment. Students, research scholars in colleges and universities and patients in hospitals are also covered and more recently, domestic workers have been included. ‘Employers need to have a clear and written policy that sexual harassment is misconduct and will result in dismissal.” – Daily Mail

It is important to talk about it, it is important to act upon it, not only on social media but on the ground. Every girl child should know that the world is behind her, waiting to support her without judgment or blame. The message that harassment will not be tolerated we soon be sent out loud and clear. Women will no longer be the ones who are afraid.