THE LIST IS GROWING longer by the day, with most news items referring to the same topic.
Most of the names may surprise many people: authors Chetan Bhagat and Suhel Seth, senior Journalists M. J. Akbar, Hyderabad Times of India editor K.R.Sreenivas and
Hindustan Times bureau chief Prashant Jha, actors Nana Patekar, Alok Nath and Jitendra, scientists Rajendra Pachauri and Kanuru Rao, filmmakers Subhash Ghai, Vikas Bahl, Gaurang Doshi and Sajid Khan, top executives Suresh Rangarajan (Tata Motors) and Phaneesh Murthy… and more by the time you read
All of them have been achievers, not ordinary people. They otherwise would not have hit the headlines and would have remained unknown like thousands of others who did the same — make unwanted sexual advances towards women using their positions.
Back in India, Akbar resigned to go to court
Rajendra Pachauri headed the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was awarded the Nobel Prize. Seth had held forth on TV panels to preached morals, Rao was dismissed as chief of Faridabad’s Health Science Technology Institute, Phaneesh was sacked from a top post by Infosys. Vikas Bahl’s ‘Queen’ was a film that extolled a woman.
And women were the weakness of all these men!
A Twitter user said even Prime Minister Narendra Modi may be the target of the #MeToo movement. Another hinted at charges against the most respected man in Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan.
There has been a flood of tweets and posts on social media which made it clear that there are three types of acts to which women victims object to – sexism, sexual harassment, and assault (rape) or violence.
Most complaints are of the first two varieties. That does not, however, mean that the assault and violence against women are less.
Only, many of them go unreported. The reason: in India the victim is blamed, shamed or even stigmatised as if it was her fault. The disbelief is more if celebrities are the perpetrators are or the victims are aspirants in entertainment and media industries where the prevalence of the “casting couch” syndrome is known for decades to prevail so much that is almost accepted as “normal”.
And consensual liaisons are too many. Some women did use that route to advance, and it puts most others, who come up on their own merit, to being thought they came up the same way.
A lot is being written and spoken about the. Even in that Mecca of freedom the United States of America, the problem exists as do sexism and domestic violence. And both the sexes have been the victims.
How can the problem be solved? In even the ‘advanced’ countries several political leaders have had to resign elective posts. And they did so as soon as they were exposed, without, as in , waiting for lengthy media trials, months of denials and court cases that seem to last a lifetime.
Death penalty, chemical or medical ness and other serious steps have been mooted. Those opposing such steps ask if high punishments have reduced crime. Even capital punishment has not prevented or at least reduced murders.
Social awareness, desensitization and education alone can eradicate this evil.
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