It reveals the worryingly large extent of women suffering from sexual assaults.
Indian women have opened up about their sexual harassment stories on social media. Using #MeToo, they revealed the haunting encounters they endured.
#MeToo began circulating on social media roughly around 15th October 2017. In wake of the scandal involving Harvey Weinstein, discussions opened up about sexual assault.
With these discussions, it led to many women adopting the hashtag. Both on Facebook and Twitter, an increasing number highlight the abuse they suffered.
Through this, it reveals the worryingly large extent of those who suffer from sexual assaults.
Across India, women shared their unfortunate experiences. Those from other countries also expressed the same feeling. That sexual harassment should no longer become an issue to ignore. That societies need to stand up and tackle it.
The hashtag rose onto radars when Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano tweeted an inspiring message. Quoting a suggestion made by a friend, she encouraged others to say: “Me Too”, if they suffered from sexual abuse.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
Over time, others quickly shared their own experiences. From detailing assaults from strangers to friends and family members, they revealed how prevalent the issue remains.
Indian comedian Mallika Dua shared on Facebook her own haunting encounter. She revealed how at the age of 7, she suffered from unwanted advances in her mother’s car. The comedian explained:
“Me too … in my own car. My mother was driving while he sat at the back with his hand under my skirt the whole time. I was 7. My sister was 11. His hands went everywhere inside my skirt and on my sister’s back.”
After the abuse, she added that her father had “dislocated” the man’s jaw with his “bare hands later that night”.
— ~ Ramya ~ (@ideasmithy) October 16, 2017
Indian women have also highlighted the struggles they face after the incidents. All too often society places the blame on women, for example accusing them of wearing provocative clothing. But #MeToo shows that women are not to blame. Instead, it lies down on society.
No, the girl wasn’t slutty
No, the skirt wasn’t provocative
No, the girl wasn’t flirting
The Girl wasn’t the problem, society is#MeToo
— Swift Space (@theswiftspace) October 16, 2017
Another struggle women face is how others react to them. Instead of supporting them, they are told to simply “get over it”. However, as #MeToo shows, this is easier said than done.
And I was blamed for it.
I was told not to talk about it.
I was told that it wasn't that bad.
I was told to get over it.
— Najwa Zebian (@najwazebian) October 16, 2017
Yet to meet a person from my gender who has not suffered abuse/harassment/ being groped in their lives. We're all survivors here. #MeToo
— Priyanka (@autumnrainwish) October 16, 2017
Lastly, many have explained how these sexual assaults still leave a lasting impact. One that creates mental scars, difficult to shed away. Others also highlighted that not only women fall victim to this abuse.
Men, people of colour and the LGBT+ community also experience sexual assaults. Meaning that sexual abuse that can happen to anyone, anywhere.
While some have attempted to make tasteless jokes on #MeToo, others have shut them down instantly. Just like this Indian mother, who taught her son a valuable lesson.
With such an influential reach, this simple hashtag has sparked a worldwide movement. One that aims to tackle sexual abuse and support victims. Encouraging them to come forward and share their stories.
Perhaps it will send a wakeup call to the Indian government to tackle these assaults. To ensure that all Indian women can one day live in a safe society.