Editor’s Note: This post is a part of What's A Man, a series exploring masculinity in India, in collaboration with Dr. Deepa Narayan. Join the conversation here!
Is India finally waking up to the #MeToo movement? I don’t think so. Victims have named their offenders earlier too, but they were silenced; for example, in Madhur Bhandarkar’s case.
While most of the victims are women, make no mistake, that these molesters holding powerful positions, won’t think twice before molesting a man or even a kid. Bollywood or say AIB, have a support system that protects the molesters and destroys the victim in the process. This should not be tolerated any further.
To recount my horror, as a guy, in the company ( won’t name the organisation as I have much to lose) I used to work in the past; I had lost track of the number of times I was touched inappropriately. Two-three people used to say ‘hi/hello’ by either pinching, slapping or touching my butt. Many times by cracking a stupid so-called ‘joke’, they would even pinch my nipples suddenly; like Salman Khan from the movie “Hello brother”. I wasn’t the only victim. While the company had strict laws against sexual harassment of women, it had none for the men. But, were the women spared? No. Starting from the shape of their bodies to their periods; everything was discussed under the approving eyes of our manager, even the blatant invitations to come over to their house on weekends when their wife was away -for a house party with the whole team of course. And for us guys, it was a one on one invitation with no pretence.
I saw how people who joined the company via campus placement were made the targets by this group; making them believe that such inappropriate behaviour was normal. When I complained about this to HR and the senior manager, you know what they did? Branded me as an anti-social element and ruined my career as I was forced to leave my dream job. And those dirty molesters are still surviving and thriving in that company. I also heard about how a female manager molested a fresher girl and guy in a drunken state during an office party. Guess who was fired? Of course the freshers!
Will this ever end? Not until every organisation irrespective of what they do, make sure that the employees who report such incidents with proofs are protected and not penalised. Countless employees still survive such torture in their workplace. In many cases, the victim, the abused, later becomes the abuser, just like the culture of ragging at campuses; which is a never-ending vicious circle.
I have done my part at my new workplace by naming and shaming every abuser so that there are no new victims. Have you done your part? If not, what are you waiting for, what is stopping you? Always remember that your silence will only help the abuser; save others and save yourself.