'People Mumble When I Walk Past, My Molester Loiters Freely': Women Share Horrors Of Assault One Year Since #MeToo
A year since #MeToo movement took India by storm, The Logical Indian brings to you a summary of startling stories from the field of entertainment, politics, media among others, that brought to light the harassment, assault, sexual innuendos that women braved and quietly withstood for years.
A hashtag that grew into a movement; a movement that spiralled into a revolution; a revolution that retracted itself into becoming a history – #metoo! came afar in its journey to question, challenge, overrun, and eventually overthrow men in power who sexually preyed upon women.
“I do think the people have begun to sit up and take notice. Policies like POSH hold higher value and people are bloody well more careful. Of course, there has been systematic abuse of the movement as well, but on the whole, it was a long time coming,” says Abanti, 23, who shared her testimony under #MeToo last year.
Abanti believes that the movement opened the floodgates to a very important conversation and the victim-blame attitude just further proves how much this movement was needed.
“I did feel vulnerable, nervous and a little dizzy when I came out in public but I knew I was in the company of some brave folks who had come out with their stories,” added Abanti.
There is no doubt that #MeToo provided moral support for women to come out and speak up about issues as stigmatized as ‘sex’ and ‘physical assault’ in India. However, the intensity of it has waded over the course of a year.
The Logical Indian got in touch with prominent faces of #MeToo, journalists, celebrities, and other women those who lend their support to the cause last year, however, many of them now refrain from talking about it, saying that the last one year took a deep toll on them, both personally and professionally. They are still coping with mental health issues after the entire fiasco.
While others, who braved to speak up, one year on, broke down in the middle of the conversation. “It triggers you every time – the assault. Speaking about which makes you regress into that very moment when the assault happened. The whole thing just brings everything back,” said Sheetal(name changed) revealing that she earlier promised to talk to us, presuming that she had moved on.
“I really thought that I would be able to speak about the horrors that happened to me. Clearly I have overestimated myself,” added Sheetal.
The same women who spoke actively and vehemently on social media platforms, demanding their basic rights be safeguarded, now prefer to be closeted and out of the limelight. The movement drew sharp criticism from people who time and again questioned the credibility of these brave women and their testimonies.
“We got the bitter piece of the movement. I was glared upon and seen as a criminal. People used to mumble when I would walk past them while my molester loitered around comfortably- carefree, and untroubled as it seemed; attending public gatherings and social events; authoring books with international organizations like HarperCollins. And I? I witnessed a professional setback and suspicion hovers over me all the time,” an exasperated media person based out of Delhi told us anonymously.
While the sceptics and victims remain at loggerheads, the movement gave people the space to talk, share, and surmise their experience without shame and guilt. It was the much the needed emotional and psychological boost to women who finally decided to voice their stories and call out their violators. Alas, the movement itself lost the steam.