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Rediff.com  » Movies » 'Naming and shaming these culprits on social media is the only option'

'Naming and shaming these culprits on social media is the only option'

October 16, 2018 15:18 IST

'Taking the legal route is not easy -- it shames you, drains you emotionally and financially.'
'The culprits get the best legal aid and fight long, costly legal battles while the victims cannot afford it.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Tanushree Dutta/Instagram

After giving the #MeToo movement wings in India, Tanushree Dutta takes a step back to introspect.

"Many of the voices you are hearing today belong to women who came to the film industry with dreams but were driven away into anonymity by the predators, their morale, self-confidence and career destroyed," Tanushree tells Subhash K Jha.

Thanks to you, the #MeToo movement has found its wings in India. Do you feel a sense of responsibility?

I feel this has gone far beyond me now.

It is something I never thought I'd trigger off, but I have.

It gives me a sense of purpose.

I never knew fate had this planned for me.

Do you feel the #MeToo movement in Bollywood doesn't have the A-list voices that its counterpart in the US does?

You mean, why have the popular actresses not spoken up? You will have to ask them.

We all know that many of them have their own stories to tell.

Some like Sonam Kapoor have spoken.

Having said that, I feel segregating the #MeToo voices into A-list and B-list is doing the movement a disservice. Every woman, who has been harmed, damaged and destroyed, is equally important.

Agreed. But when Uma Thurman or Angelina Jolie spoke about it, they brought attention and heft to the #MeToo campaign.

Yes, I'd love to have the big stars speak out, but I suspect they won't.

There is so much stigma attached to the topic of sexual violation.

Even today, women and not the perpetrators are questioned, ostracized, harangued and their reputation smashed and shredded.

Can you believe it? The victim is shamed!

When a girl is violated, ghar ki izzat is seen to be threatened.

Arre, how is a crime as grave as rape or molestation a threat to ghar ki izzat?

 

Do you think this mindset stops successful voices from sharing their experiences in India?

This oath of secrecy is what stops the movement from growing in our country.

You think it is easy for women to come forward and open up about their experiences?

Many of the voices you are hearing today belong to women who came to the film industry with dreams but were driven away into anonymity by the predators, their morale, self-confidence and career destroyed.

You think it was easy for me to speak about my experience?

It took me 10 years to heal through spiritual guidance.

Were you prepared for this movement that you have started?

Not at all! If I knew about it, I'd have never come to India for this so-called holiday.

I am glad one doesn't know God's plans.

If one does, one would probably be frightened of doing what one is supposed to.

Now that you are the face of the #MeToo movement in India, are you happy with the way it is going?

At last, at least a debate on sexual misconduct is raging across the country.

It is a healthy and positive sign.

What really irks me is that these empowered women in positions of responsibility coming on television to condemn the brave women who have come forward with their #MeToo stories, calling them publicity seekers.

This is so frustrating and self-defeating.

Do these entitled women realise how much guts it takes to narrate your story of violation?

Merely speaking about it on social media without legal follow-ups is pretty much self-defeating.

It is not! In fact, naming and shaming these culprits on social media is the only option.

Taking the legal route is not easy -- it shames you, drains you emotionally and financially.

Many times, the culprits get the best legal aid and fight long, costly legal battles while the victims cannot afford it.

Do you see any change in the way victims are positioned since the violation happened to you 10 years ago?

There is a change, but not enough.

Ten years ago when I approached the police, my efforts were blocked.

I faced the same hurdles again this time, but I was better equipped to handle it.

The #MeToo movement has given me confidence and strength.

Why do we call it the #Metoo movement? Why do we have to ape the West?

Sexual violation is not about the West or the East. It is a global shame that binds all survivors as sisters.

Subhash K Jha