This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by tanuj agrawal. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

#YouToo: FAQs About The #MeToo Movement For Indian Men

With so many celebrity accusers and accused, India is finally seeing its #MeToo movement. Along with the movement we are also seeing a divide in opinions about the #MeToo movement and it is a spectrum ranging from Outright Denial to Open Acceptance, with Ignorance being in the middle.

Like a non-argumentative Indian, even I would have slept comfortably under the garb of ignorance avoiding any debate on such matters. However, I have decided to build my opinion. I have created these FAQs to help you build yours.

Facts About #MeToo Movement

  • Why are so many women “crying” all of a sudden?
    Answer: You are seeing so many posts because Indian women are collectively sharing their ordeals, empowered by the network effect of social media. While some women will name the person who allegedly abused them, others will not. The whole idea is to bring to the limelight what the society has blindfolded itself to. Also, it is not only women who are “crying”. Even some men have come forward with the stories of harassment they have faced.
  • What will they achieve by sharing the stories on social media?
    Answer: The movement acts as a medium of ’empowerment through empathy’, to tell those who have suffered that they are not alone. If not justice, it will at least provide relief to the survivor after sharing a traumatic experience hidden deep. This anecdote, by the originator of this phrase Tarana Burke, will explain this best.

Tarana worked at a youth camp at Alabama. One day a 13-year-old girl wanted to talk to her privately. She began to tell Burke about the sexual violence she had survived. “I was not ready,” Burke said. “When she disclosed, I rejected her.” She sent her to someone else.“She never came back to camp,” Burke said. To this day, she doesn’t know what happened to her. The guilt Burke felt became a refrain, a repeated question: “Why couldn’t you just say ‘me too?’

  • Where did #MeToo start?

          Answer: #MeToo was first used by Tarana Burke, on MySpace in 2006.

  • If it is that old, why is it famous all of a sudden?
    Answer: #MeToo as a social-media movement in its present form was made famous by a Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano. For India, the tipping point of #MeToo movement was a recent interview in which Miss India and actress Tanushree Dutta, alleged that she was harassed by Nana Patekar on the set of Horn OK Please.

Opinions About The Credibility Of The #MeToo Movement

  • Why do/ did they not go to the police? /Why are they speaking after so many years? /Why did they not complain about this at workplace/home?”
    Answers: It is a huge risk. Imagine, you are living in a country where the Police might not even lodge the FIR of a rape attempt. There you want to lodge a complaint of sexual harassment. It is difficult to file a police complaint.I agree that women can and should raise voice against misconduct immediately. I am certain that in the organizations where I have worked, the complaints of harassment are handled promptly and diligently. However, I also understand that things have improved only recently, while a lot is still required. The improvements are limited to a few leading organizations. Despite these improvements, we still lag a change in the way Indian men (and women) think.

A good friend of mine had once shared this story when she was seeing a guy (unfortunately another good friend of mine). One night, the guy would not go away from the girl’s room despite repeated requests by the girl. In the end the girl had to threaten him to get him out. The incident left her shocked and scared.

When I asked her why did she not report this to the relevant forum, she answered that she feared if it comes out it will put her in jeopardy. Such allegations are very hard to prove. Everyone (males and females both) will judge her character, more so because she was dating him and it was public knowledge. Lastly, she liked the guy despite the incidents.

What is shocking here is that when I confronted the guy, he justified his behavior as ‘testing the waters’.

Today I ask myself, do I have the courage to even end relations with him?
And the answer is: No

  • How do you know these accusations are true? /What if women are lying or posting half-truths to set personal score?
    Answer: I agree these are all accusations. There is a good probability that some of them are outright false while some are half-baked truths. The well-publicized case of Rohtak Sisters is a recent proof in which the accused, whose reputation was ruined by Media Trials, were found innocent. That said, it is hard to believe that all of them are lies. Especially in cases where one man is being accused by multiple women.

Facts And Opinions About Harassment And Consent

  • What is Sexual Harassment?
    Answer: I will try to summarise the details mentioned in this document by UN in 1 sentence.      “Any unwelcome behaviour perceived of sexual nature by the receiver.” Please focus on the phrases, “Unwelcome” and “as perceived by the receiver”. While you might think that it is ok to put your arms around someone, it might be an unwelcome behaviour of sexual nature in the other person’s mind.
  • What is consent?
    Answer: Watch this 3-minute video and you will never be confused about consent again.
  • Do you mean to say that flirting is sexual harassment?
    Answer: If truth be told, the boundary is very thin and ambiguous. The devil lies in the concept of consent. While I might welcome a flirtatious line from one girl, I might not welcome the same line from another girl. This article beautifully describes how to be a Gentleman in today’s world. As a rule of thumb, if you get rejected/ignored/even sidelined in your first attempt, don’t try again. Be a gentleman, respect your self-pride, politely thank the lady for her time and move on.
  • So, now we can’t even flirt or make a move?
    Answer: As a rule of thumb, avoid flirting in workplace relationships. Even more when you are in a position of power over that person. Even a praise for someone’s looks can be deemed as harassment. In case you flirt, make sure that the person at receiving end welcomes it. In general, if it is welcome, it will be visible in the recipient’s actions and reciprocated. If someone is not reciprocating to your flirting. Stop! And maybe, apologise.

My Final Opinion About The #MeToo Movement

I had written this article to frame my opinion on this movement and here it is.

I believe that a lot of stories surfaced in the #MeToo movement are true. I agree that some stories may be false and half-baked truths as well. I support the #MeToo movement but I will not call someone a harasser only because of one allegation. Moreover, I out rightly question the validity of calling someone a harasser just because he asked for your photos on the first date (it is certainly creepy though). I also believe that adultery is not harassment. I hope that women will not dilute this movement by sharing false stories. I think that a repeat sexual harasser would have shown his true colours often in his life. The probability of someone being innocent decreases with the number of charges against him/her.

I sincerely hope that more women (and men) will come up with their (true) stories and empower this movement further.

You must be to comment.
  1. Megha Aggarwal

    I like your take on the issue, and this article in general. Well written. It was a great read!
    Also, love the Tea Consent video! 😀

    1. tanuj agrawal

      Thank You!
      Megha ?

More from tanuj agrawal

Similar Posts

By Prasun Goswami

By Prerana

By Rushalee Goswami

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below