#MeToo Movement is in full swing at present and the number of women coming forward talking about cases of sexual harassment over the past few days is increasing every day. Being a girl in a city like Delhi where I have been traveling alone for 5 years now and meeting so many people, this movement is an eye-opener in the sense that we as women don’t even know the true meaning of harassment, at least I did not, I don’t want to comment about others. We are so accustomed and trained in such a way, we are told that the world outside is not so decent so behave in a particular fashion. There are a hundred things that constantly go around in our heads while stepping out of the house. My dad always keeps a tab on my location whenever I am out, I have to make sure that there are no nuisance elements around me, I cover my face regardless of the weather while walking alone.
Public transport and public places are dangerous especially if you are a girl, a woman, your age, your dress, your way of walking or existing just does not matter to be really honest. Everyday functioning is a struggle because most of my energy goes in making sure that I am in a safe environment. Making friends with guys is a task because there is always that “behave” conditioning, or the fact that the guys must not take your smile or laughter or a simple accidental eye contact as a consent to touch you unnecessarily or inappropriately. One thing is getting harassed by strangers, the other is getting harassed by the people whom you know, you’re friends with or the guy you are in a potential relationship with. All the accounts of #MeToo movement have been heartbreaking and at the same time, these are so important because they help one realize the true meaning of harassment which girls like me have brushed aside as purely indecent or “guys will be guys” behavior and not calling out for this.
I am not here to name anyone or share my story in detail highlighting things point by point, incident by incident, what I am here for is the perspective this movement has brought about. To all the people out there, who know who have done wrong at some point, don’t think she does not remember, she may have brushed it aside but she clearly remembers incidents like these.
And I have been one of the privileged few because I come from a girls college, some would like to argue that it is not a privilege but rather the opposite to not have co-ed environment, anyhow, I have barely interacted with a maximum of 20 men apart from my own family members from the outside world other than numerous strangers in the public transport and I have had a fair deal of good and bad experiences with known and unknown people. And I have also seen a few girls lie about issues like these just to take revenge in a sour relationship. And just as we say that it is #NotAllMen, all stories are not lies, not all women lie.
It’s not about men or women. It’s about awareness, it is about creating sensitivity and understanding of the issue. It is about bringing about a change in the social thought and social conduct of the society and people around us as a whole.
Even in this #MeToo Movement we are not believing our women and mocking them for speaking about an incident which happened way back in past. All I want to convey is that if you cannot support, then be quiet, don’t mock the people who take a lot of courage to relive every single moment of such experience and put it out in public. And for most part, just you know explore the stories and accounts and facts for yourself and see where it goes wrong.
And as far as my story is concerned, I have come to realize that I have been harassed more than I have counted. And it has not happened in a DTC Bus or metro but safe places with people I have trusted or shared a potential relationship with. Letting go of all of that, #MeToo is important and I hereby wish so much love, luck and power, and strength to all the people out there, both men and women who are trying to make sure that the small world around them is a safe place.