I’m a girl who has spent her entire life swarmed by women, from an all-girls convent school to a women's college. It is safe to say that my social media feed is currently flooded with the MeToo hashtag. Though I had been expecting it, I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of the situation (200 status updated at the least on my timeline). Since a young age, I have seen sexual harassment become a part of my daily life. And yet, every time I scrolled past a status that had the term ‘MeToo’ in it, I stopped and wondered what had happened to this person I sat next to, she said it was during a bus ride back from school but we shared a bus. Was I there? Hadn’t I noticed? Why didn’t she say anything?
But no matter how I feel, the men on my timeline seem more baffled by the situation. They want to say something, anything, to help what is happening. A male friend of mine was informed of his sister’s sexual harassment from her Facebook status, he called me later at night and had a heart to heart. But his question still rings in my head - “What can I do? How can I fix this?”
This article is for you and every other boy/ man out there who wants to help solve this and be a part of the movement. And also for the women who think sexual harassment doesn't exist just because they have never witnessed it. It exists and here is how you can contribute:
Sexual harassment shouldn’t be a shushed topic, it isn’t something to be ashamed of. Bring up the term on the dinner table or your next cigarette break with your colleagues. It might help them get help or even prevent further incidences.
If you see a guy smacking a women’s ass without her consent, call him out on it. Ask him to apologise to her, even if she laughs it off in the moment, it will impact her.
This goes for both men and women, please look up what being a feminist means and become one. It is basically just equal rights for women and God knows it needs to be done.
Read a book by a female author, watch movies made by women directors, just do your bit in bringing the ladies exposure in different fields. This will in turn create a better environment where they are respected.
It doesn’t matter if you’re dating a dude or a chick, sexual harassment is prevalent in both genders. So always make it a point to ask your partner if they are comfortable with the situation or not. Also, ask them if they have been sexually harassed or abused in the past, they might have triggers linked to these memories.
SO important! Most women don’t speak out because they are spoken down to in their homes (their supposed comfort zones). Create a comfortable environment that is open to conversations. And please stop using ‘motherfu**er’, ‘slut’, ‘whore’ as insults (in every language!), it makes every woman around you very uncomfortable and is downright disrespectful.
Never stay quiet, contact Safe Delhi for help in public areas or just counselling.