Alas…All of us have had our own #metoo moments. You just shut your abuser down? Well done, Me too. A piece of flesh to be groped, sexually abused, and raped even when it is a criminal offense? Totally, me too? A guy pushed up against you from behind with his erection on a bus? That’s what you get for being a woman, they say!!
Some insensitive pricks are genuinely curious if there are women who have never been sexually harassed. But why no woman is shocked by the #MeToo tag? Because the insensitive ones have been living under the rock basking in their own stinky glory. How can you gods not notice half the world in pain? Is your third eye numb? You dumb?
I am#metoo. Like most women, I have tried to push bad memories away. No surprises there! Like every woman on dear Earth, I’ve been bombarded with a range of gross grabs, brushes, and grinds in streets, shops, cabs and autos, buses and trains, in bedrooms and boardrooms, in broad daylight and in the dead of night. This has come about to days-old infants and timeworn and infirm women and even, animals! Humanity has failed. In short, the ubiquity is astonishing.
The “uncle” who brushed his lips with mine at 11 years of tender age, the guy who yelled and begged after I declined to have sex with him after going out with him twice as I owed him sex for the money he spent on “my” food. Countless acts of street harassment, from merry to menacing. The teenager, the beggar, the elite, the beast who exposed themselves and masturbated to me in various situations of life. And, so much more! The emotions welling inside of me ran the gamut till the point I couldn’t take it anymore. You still function like a normal person recapturing all your secrets and tucking them back into their hiding place. You put on a mask back on and go back into the heart-wrenching world.
But instead of addressing it, we work around it.
It was horrifying while growing up and it still is but you endure. We all do. Abuse and its various shades happen to all of us. The pain of opening a wound only to have it abruptly forced closed again – it is all on my face.
Most of us, men and women, bumped into “harassment” when we weren’t even ripe but still children. The most painful memories curtail from childhood when abuse and assault molded a child’s ideas about men, femininity, and self-image. It’s a lifelong struggle. We all know exactly how deep, how wide the rot runs and still we obnoxiously undermine it rather than acknowledging it.
And so on. But, hey, that’s accepted and normalized? Because being harassed is a pre-puberty phenomenon that we are subjected to and lasts forever after?
In India, marital rape is still legal, and until now, it didn’t matter if you were under 18. Also, consider this in context of #MeToo. And, Nah, being raped or molested once doesn’t make it easier to do it again.
It is a sad reality that it really does take a Twitter trend to recognize that women and men are harassed and violated every day. I feel deep-fried. My blood is running hot. It is the deepest, darkest place in my soul. I’m looking over the six emojis provided on Facebook to figure out how to respond to the exasperating and vulnerable-sounding posts people have shared. (Does “thumbs up” mean “I like it” or “I hear you?”). Do you need a hug?
We come across grinning pictures, on social media platforms, of rapists; the creeps who should be fading into the cardinal bushes instead writing serious, considerate messages of care and support on Twitter—convenient acts of moral laundering. And when caught red-handed, insist that none of that has any inference for their “usual,” everyday selves.
If we don’t change, if we don’t do better, a new generation will still be tweeting #MeToo years from now and your unfortunate ass wouldn’t be able to do a thing to protect your children. And, it rips my heart out. We need to be very, very angry about the leering, jeering, and threats, verbal and physical abuses we relentlessly face in almost every sphere of life.
So who exactly did not know that the prevalent problem was this bad? Turns out, it is the society and culture, with some vague set of people holding their shit together.
And this is why we need a paradigm shift in the way we view sexual assault. Men and women don’t just get “raped”, they are raped. As people have warmly pointed out, for every #MeToo story there is a corresponding #IDidThat.
We belong to a culture that creates cosmos for fighting and pushing back, but not enough for connecting and healing. A culture that strains to silence the woman by petrifying her about consequences that her avowals may have on her career or life and humiliates her for ‘bringing the harassment or assault on herself’, in so doing, holding the woman responsible through her dress, her mannerisms or even her being at a particular place at a particular time. A Society that treats these incidences with shaky levels of seriousness and mostly just plain dismissal.
You know if someone tells you he/she has been sexually harassed, what’s the best thing you could do? YOU BELIEVE THEM.
Women are letting it all out and opening their hearts and souls to the world, and the saddest part of it all is that we won’t see any physical change, at least, not right away. In the end, will it make a difference?
The demur now is to figure out how to take it beyond a viral moment that is here today and forgotten tomorrow. Our society needs to evolve. We need to speak up whenever needed, offline or online.
Possibly soon, we’ll take off from the passive voice of #MeToo to a more keen construction.
We need to transform awareness into action. Speak up, Know better, and do better. Thus, saying ‘me too’ isn’t enough. We have to stop excusing perpetrators. Sexual violence or gender-based violence should now be approached as social justice issues.
Meanwhile, let’s keep talking about it. And the godly ones, you zip it up down there.