Thank heavens that #MeTooIndia is a reality and by every passing day, it’s gaining momentum.
Social media and news channels are in a total frenzy right now. Of course like every other debate, there are strong protests on both sides of the debate. Some people are launching smear campaigns against survivors speaking out, and others are coming out in support of survivors.
And there is this third category of people that are supporting the campaign, but their perception of rape and sexual assault is quite messed up, they are causing more harm than good. And these are influential women from Bollywood. Here they are:
In the video below, you can hear Raveena being wholly outraged by these sexual predators and seems to be in support of the survivors. Kudos to her for even speaking out. But when as an influential person you are using your platform, wouldn’t it be nice to educate yourself a little about the issue in the first place?
In this video, you can see Raveena mentions at 26:04, “I’ve not been sexually harassed because no one has the guts to!” She continues to say she would punch them back in the face etc.
This kind of narrative is extremely offensive and insulting to survivors of sexual assault, especially considering Vinta Nanda, who has accused Alok Nath of raping her, sitting right there with Raveena.
The truth is that rape, and sexual assault has nothing to do with how strong you are as a woman. To feel better about yourself, you can tell yourself those things, so you feel like you have some control over it. But in reality, rape is not about how powerful or weak you are; it is about who the rapist is, and how he has used his position to gain your trust.
It is comparably easy to kick a stranger on the street who tries to assault you, but when a trusted teacher or a ‘tayaji’ would touch you inappropriately, you would freeze. This is called a ‘Freeze Reaction’. You may still try to run but every human reaction to such trauma is different, and no one should be judged on their reaction because this is #victim blaming. It puts the onus of rape on the victim. Thus, harming the movement instead of helping it.
It is also comparable to a complaint about a stranger in the street because of the power dynamics – but not about a well-respected teacher, a family member or a boss. Hence, Raveena, kindly educate yourself and be more sensitive about the things you say next time.
This is what privileged and oblivious women who have no clue what it is like to be a survivor sound like. She talked about how women should be heard and respected, but ultimately pushed the ‘Vishakha guidelines’ on the faces of survivors, and very diplomatically ended her talk.
First of all, if the law in India worked so wonderfully, we won’t need a #MeToo movement for women to be believed. And secondly, women are not just getting assaulted at places of work, but even in their homes by their husbands, and marital rape in India is not even recognised as a crime! So stop hiding behind the ‘law’ curtain and empathise with the victims. Worst of all, she said that the victims should not wait and immediately raise their voices when such a thing happens.
Her insensitive remark shows that she knows absolutely nothing about what an assault survivor goes through.
Every victim knows that the longer they wait, the chances of getting substantial forensic evidence against their perpetrator will decrease.
But when one goes through an incident like this, the last thing on their mind is evidence. Victims first have to deal with the fact that this has actually happened to them; and then follows the shame, guilt, and self-doubt questioning if it was their fault.
The society that we live in has weird ideas about rape victims. Parineeti Chopra in her interview said something like she would rather be dead than harassed etc. Again, her intentions being ‘good’ and her mission being ‘supportive’, this is an absolutely awful thing to say. Because to a survivor, this means “you better die now since you have been raped as death is better than being a rape victim”.
Thousands of rape survivors do precisely that. The rape did not kill them, but society’s idea that a rape victim has no worth did.
Survivors of assault have a lot to do – to heal enough to be in a position to even admit it to themselves that it happened. So please stop questioning them or pushing them to report an assault the instant it happens. It can’t. Victims need the time and healing to share their story, and it is their choice alone. Yes, they are aware of the chances of getting justice but to go through an assault is a lot messier than legal justice.
This is an interesting one.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you stay quiet for fear of losing jobs, contracts etc. But, you judge other survivors conveniently for not speaking up earlier.
In this interview below, this hypocrisy is shamelessly visible. Supportive of survivors especially against Alok Nath, Himani sounds like she is supportive of the movement. Good for her, good for us. You can hear her talk about why are other big names have not been accused yet – as there are many she knows about. She does the same thing that Raveena and Parineeti did, saying she is a strong woman and she would have done this and that – but other ‘kamzor’ women can’t or won’t speak up for themselves.
Ultimately, the journalist asks that since she has also been harassed, when will she talk about her assaulters because since the #MeToo movement is gaining momentum, this seems to be a good time for it.
She says “I am not afraid…” and continues to say exactly what an afraid person would say. Of course, she is afraid that she won’t get work, she won’t be hired. But judging other survivors and expecting them to risk their all while you are protecting your future is highly hypocritical.
The problem with this nation is not that people don’t think rape is bad.
Of course, the majority of people would say rape is bad, and rapists should be punished.
But, it is the details that make all the difference. It is evident that society upholds the rape culture and is supportive of the rapist as people’s first instinct is to find ways to put the onus of rape on the victim. Women are deluding themselves by thinking they cannot be raped because they are ‘strong’ or outspoken or have any control over such things.
No woman is immune to sexual assault. That is the reality of our society. So, please educate yourself about the dilemma and traumas of survivors before talking big on national television. Your heart may be in the right place, but your tongue certainly isn’t.