Over a hundred feminists groups and individuals have issued a statement in solidarity with the #MeToo movement finally hitting the Indian media and entertainment sector.
The statement followed more and more women coming out with their accounts of facing sexual harassment, especially in the media and entertainment, bringing out the dark side of the industry that decided to turn a blind eye to what was happening around them, and refused to hear the victims out.
The statement, released on October 14, endorsed by several groups and individuals, including lawyers, activists, and academics, termed the #MeToo campaign as “an open challenge to the pervasiveness of a culture that allows men to harass women, intimidate and exploit them, with impunity.”
Also Read: #MeToo : Retired Judges to Look into Cases, Says Minister
“It is disturbing, though not surprising, that many among these women who tried to raise these issues within the organisation, were neither believed nor supported, and some even brazenly dismissed,” the statement read. A lot of women who came out during the movement with their accounts of workplace harassment have also claimed that their voices went unheard when they tried talking about it to the authorities.
The statement, who signatories include Zubaan Books, Sahei, AIPWA, HAQ, YWCA among others, also mentions how so many women, especially the ones who work in unorganised sectors and semi-formal workplaces, are yet to find a platform to speak out about their experiences. “Because for every woman who has spoken out about such violence, there are likely tens of thousands of others, especially in the unorganised sector and semi-formal workspaces, who are yet to find an avenue to speak out,” it says.
It is important that men and women come together to fight the injustice that has been ignored till now. Each survivor is speaking out at immense emotional, personal, and professional cost, and it should not be in vain. “It is not sufficient for them to only now ‘take action’ or ‘sideline’ the accused. It is imperative that sexism and misogyny at the workplace be brought to an end,” the statement read.
Also Read: #MeToo: M J Akbar And His Ilk
Calling for joint action, the statement stressed the importance of forging new alliances “to create safe spaces for the sharing of such experiences, the reviewing of older strategies and the evolution of newer ones. To take our shared struggles forward so that women may speak out and be believed. To collectively evolve codes of behaviour for interpersonal interactions between genders, both within the workplace and outside.”