Why I did not post #MeToo
The weekend after being overwhelmed by too many #MeToo posts on social media, I decided to spend a little time to pen down my thoughts. I am an active social media user, nevertheless, I did not post a status that said #MeToo. Does this mean I was spared? Well, if you do a little math with the number of people who came out to share their story you would understand that there is probably just two sides to this. The ones who spoke of it and the ones who didn’t.
The first few initial days of the hashtag I read a few statuses and empathized with them. But the following days, seeing numerous people share their encounters from their childhood up until now, tells us there is a serious problem that needs attention. I was talking to my mom (who is also quite active in social media) if she is seeing #MeToo posts for every scroll and apparently she did not. It then got me thinking, was it just our generation that had to go through this? And clearly the ‘assault factor’ has been increasing over the last few years. While there were so many honest stories out there, the more I read, the more I came across stories from my friends going through this when they were in their early teens. Yes, as a kid.
We as Indians always assume the western culture as being an open culture. But what experience did the more secluded culture that we hold on to give us? The thousands of #MeToo posts is the answer. We do not educate our children about the society but rather protect them by keeping them indoors. The illusion of a safe environment will just lead to more #MeToo posts. Instead, teaching children about the realities of the world outside, what is clearly wrong and right, giving them the courage to stand up to it (instead of asking them to stay away from trouble all the time) will reduce the negative energy we have now.
If one girl is silent, ten more men arise. If one girl hits back, twenty men might fall. It goes either way. I have seen that silence during such incidents feed their enticement, whereas a quick bold stare makes them run ten yards!
While we keep teaching our children to be bold, let’s also teach them what ‘sexual abuse’ is. It can be in so many different forms. ‘Harassment’ on the other hand is worse and some times goes until a legal complaint- which is completely the right thing to do. But ‘abuse’- is subtle, it happens in silence- the few seconds or minutes that you know your personal space is being violated. You know you are uncomfortable but you can’t be entirely sure of whats happening- sometimes you even give them the benefit of the doubt that everything is normal and you are overthinking just because you are not sure. And in the end after years of silence, it comes out as an odd experience that you would like to forget, with a hashtag #MeToo or the experience has blurred out in your confused mind that you are just sitting there and wondering while reading thousands of stories from other people thinking maybe #MeToo?