Dark side of #Me Too Movement

Notsosanskari!! Social media platforms like Instagram & Twitter were flooded when allegations against Alok Nath for rape was posted by Vinita just after the newly trending #MeToo movement in India. In 2018, actor Alok Nath was accused of rape by TV producer Vinta Nanda who worked with him in the TV show Tara in the mid-1990s. Subsequently, Nath sued Nanda for defamation, denied the allegation and asked for a written apology along with ₹1 as compensation. He was sent a show-cause notice from the Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA) on Vinta Nanda’s post on Facebook. There after he also filed a joint case with his wife. He was asked by the association that why he should not be expelled to which he replied that he was innocent until proven guilty.

However, he was expelled after failing to appear at a body meeting to discuss his rape accusations and instead sent a response to the ‘show-cause’ notice. In response to Alok Nath’s ‘show-cause’ Vinta Nanda’s lawyer responded that she would not be intimidated by threats and defamation suits which were meant to delay and distract from the gravity of the allegations. CINTAA secretary general Sushant Singh responded that Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) had not been completely trained in POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) on how to “hear cases, take a deposition, cross-question. Another incident which gave rise to #MeToo movement in India was actress Tanushree Dutta accusing actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment during the movie shoot of ‘Horn Ok Please’.

The social “Me Too” campaign of India continued to grow and was covered by major media outlets as a topic of importance, with victims outing their abusers on a nearly daily basis. Due to that movement major social consequences resulted in firing or resignation from the jobs or condemnation or disassociation from members of their respective industries against their actions from their fans and/or the public at large. According to Journalist Seema Mustafa, this was an achievement for India’s women’s movement, but she has also felt that the movement lacked internal criticism which would have been helpful in strengthening the cause. Mustafa also expressed her reservations about the tone and tenor of the ‘Me Too movement’ on social media. A key point of her criticism was the movement’s ‘inability to differentiate between a man who is guilty of rape and sexual assault from a man who solicited a woman with a drink, or an unacceptable text message’, arguing it offers the same ‘punishment’ for all .

Social media gave the power to express the topics which were earlier considered very difficult to articulate . According to a study the abuser does not consider any relationship boundaries and can vary from parents, step parents to caretakers or complete strangers . While the #MeToo phenomenon provided many women to come forward, it led to “trial by media” which blamed and shamed the alleged persons before getting a chance to defend themselves and having an opportunity of a fair trial. Different studies have reported that false rape allegations and charges were frequently made by persons with different motives . over reporting and false allegations are the ugly faces of these movements. One of the motives for false allegations were for material gain, alibi, revenge, sympathy, attention, a disturbed mental state, relabeling, or regret. There must be equal punishment for someone who makes false allegations or charges. In smaller companies, sometimes when colleagues have casual conversations, women jokingly tell the men to be careful or else ‘me-too kar doongi’!

Men were being called out for their behavior, even if they were not proven guilty (lack of evidence/proper trial). Now, 2-3 years since the #MeToo movement began, many of the questions remain difficult to answer like where does #MeToo stand today? Or How much has it changed workspaces in India? Or is it still alive in India ? studies have shown that 19% of the men are reluctant to hire attractive women while 27% men said that they avoided one-on-one meetings with female colleagues!! The movement has left many men feeling afraid of being accused. “The problem with #MeToo is that as a man, you are guilty until proven innocent, so if any woman accuses you of anything, even if it is false, it could ruin your career and your personal life,” said a cinematographer in Mumbai .

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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