Before we talk and discuss these perceivably status quo challenging movements, we are loud and clear that we have no contention in expressing full sympathies for every woman on the globe who undergo traumatic experiences due to their contact with the respective interaction points with Male chauvinists.
This #MeToo movement is actually a movement imported from west started a year back. This denotes to voice a concern of one individual who is viciously violated her self-respect and individuality in privacy,which is actually constituent incident of a collective crime culture and a unified and uniform dastard treatment towards women which was spreading all over in isolation as bits and pieces. General manifestation of male chauvinism at work place ,be it an office or movies or journalism or photography or a diplomatic transaction or fashion design or any space, occurs as a phenomenon in unexhibited, inexplicit and inexpressive conditions. Sexual misconduct of male springs up from his authoritative, influential and “cannot be caught and proven “ conditions. In such dire circumstances, the victim is posed with a question to turn the life over into a least alternate living form.Generally, in such cases, it is challenging to find credible ( in public perception ) and proven objective eye witness.The thought behind this is what is considered as a “popular misdemenour” in a funnily male chauvinistic world should have to get exposed.
The significance of #MeToo movement in India picked up when the same started rolling in the internet by millions of browsers across borders and this popular trend, founding that India cannot take side of these males any more, had strengthened providing a relative “safety net “ to victims around this. The international sensation and coverage by international media cropped up into this hash tag trend. This in a way, magnifies the voice and image of individual victims and gives out a positive social inclination for heroic expression and exposure of gross perpetrators. We must understand very importantly how this #MeToo is getting operated and what kind of ambience is created around this.In fact, Google opened a separate site for “Me Too “ movement giving complete statistics and highlighting all the voices location-wise imparting “global touch” to each of them. A social “Net benefit “ to the victim is created and this forms as an “ opportunity “ to “prove oneself “ of not only her character but also her “meritorious discernment” in the picture. This analysis does not aim to reduce the mental agony of the victims but would like to emphasise how this movement turns out to be incomplete and working just as a calibration ofpresent social order.
Though Law of Limitation generally does not apply in such cases, however, the presentation of witness and evidence would assume severe lapses in the court of law. Still, we need to understand that , though some of these #Metoo victim cases turn out to be criminal cases, but largely remained as “ naming and shaming” the accused.
Let us really see the space in which #MeToo movement is popular and its victims profile. There are 12 women who accused Minister MJ Akbar of sexual misconduct and sexual assault in private. Amongst 12 victims, there is one CNN foreign reporter who charged him of sexual assault when she was 18 year old and working as an intern. Priya Ramani and all others hail from a savarna background, largely. These journalists have come into this space identifying this as one bright area of opportunity to suit their merits and performance which is thwarted by other Savarna men in the space. ( We are not talking about exceptions here ). It may be noted that MJ Akbar has employed a firm, in his defence, with over 90 lawyers of which around 25 lawyers are savarna female lawyers. These people stand on the other side to fight out with the Savarna female victims in the binary social behavioural pattern. If you observe the movie spaces, leaving much less intense offences in south film industry, largely, it is the aspiring savarna females who raise voice against these Savarna men. Once you open NDTV or Republic TV, the audience are bound to see what sort of problems the Savarna women face in this country and how pitiful and how gross they are.
These spaces have not accommodated the women who graduate from working class sections i.e bahujan and dalit Adivasi sections. The industries in which the fight is going on like journalism, movie, fashion design etc have least presence of dalit bahujan women, leave the case of men, for time being. The random actions that happen in those spaces too would reflect the happiness and disappointments of the people who constitute these industries. Of all 30+ media houses, not one person in key reporting position belongs to Dalits or adivasis and very insignificant proportion of these liberal journalists hail from OBC and Muslim sections. These industries remain largely polarised and work in a “closed stratified system”. The doors are relatively shut on unproclaimed criteria like ,besides, social network, PR, Merit, Skills to skin colours and tones. If the King’s bed room is burnt, you will hear the clamours of the King’s family alone and not of servants. Our problem is not with the nature of crime but the problem is with the ambience around this.
As per some of the reports, there are atleast 20 dalit women get rapedevery week in India . These crimes do not occur in plush telecast rooms or plush corporate houses. They just happen everywhere wherever these Dalit women occupy the space. The vulnerability and the magnitude of the sexual assault against them is uncomparably more intense than any single instance of #MeToo movement. We are in a society where we live in apathy towards women in which Nirbhaya incident is a sensation and Phoolan Devi’s suffering is an infirmity. We do not mean to propose a “ firs talk about this “ conundrum too. We have been excluded from a Fort all these Savarna women are living and we tend to bat for the problems of all those well educated and well learnt and well urbanised and well presentable sections only all the time.Our unanswered vexed questions is – we do not even find a space in these industries and where is the question of MJ Akbar sort of males attacking on us ?
Many a times, we feel handicapped of deeper analysis of issues as we are not served with any caste based census in this country which all Governments keep opposing. The majoriatarianist tendency to classify something heinous is just individualistic but not structural. This write up would like to appeal to the readers to take up this angle of thinking. The structural advantage that captivates these Savarna women in their ambitious careers have become self-imposed barriers and are demanding the hip adjustments in the status quo with their counterpart males.
One may contradict this write up on the basis that this diminishes the importance of raising a primary voice, wherever possible , on a standard male. We would like to present the fact that the problem of #MeToo victims of this meritorious sections is not a problem of completeness. While as a Dalit writer, I extend my sympathies, but I would really like any of those victims of one single film personality or one single journalist to bring up an honest work into public on the lives of dalit and bahujan women which would really be equitable in demanding justice for women. I grow up on account of the grace bestowed by Babasaheb Ambedkar and I end up to take side of a section of people which are totally alien to me and energies of people like me would be channelled towards Savarna sections just because we are still voicing within a brahminical frame and its structure.The problem is – PhoolanDevis are originated when #MeToo movement wont reach them. The strong limitation of this #MeToo movement is – this has not equitably reached all sections of polarised India and is confined to the objective of welfare of few countable categories of women.
What kind of #MeToo movement we need in India and what we are regulated to experience ? Is the nature of sexual misconduct common ? Is the social profile of all victims and perpetrators common and uniform in the country ? Is the victimisation structurally selective or is it generic in the society ? We have 55 crore of work force in India and nearly 40% constitute women. Is this #MeToo movement able to cover up atleast 50- 75% of these working women categories, in aggregate of skilled level to unskilled work ? Does #MeToo, pose a threat to Savarna men to go less harsh on Dalit women too ? These are some of the questions really need to be understood when we are extending support to this movement. We are trying to find out answers from this popular movement hailed by Indian media in a huge scale of uproar and we end up in refuting the generic commonality of the problem, victims and perpetrators too. Probably, while achieving parity of males and females is a long drawn process, this is the time when Government seriously thinks of changing the demographics of victims and perpetrators which would still be a better move than one can address than the desired goal of #MeToo movement.
P Victor Vijay Kumar A writer and a corporate finance professional )