A lot has been said, written and highlighted in various media platforms after Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta came up with allegations against actor Nana Patekar of indecent behaviour during a film shoot. It seems she has opened a can of worms, with several other women from various fields coming out to talk of how they were sexually harassed at their workplaces.
As the issue tarnished the reputation of many celebrities beyond repair, an allegation surfaced that the campaign is nothing but a publicity stunt by women who are ‘out of job’ to remain in the limelight.
Orissa POST spoke to three prominent women of Bhubaneswar, who have made a name for themselves in their respective fields, to know what they have to say on the issue.
Dr Hiranmayee Mishra, a writer and gender specialist and the director of the Women’s Studies Centre (UGC) in UN Autonomous College, said,
“In India, victimising the victim is the usual trend. The idea is to put pressure on the women to stop them from telling their stories. So, I am not shocked when the men try to dismiss the issue by calling it a “publicity stunt” by women. I am definitely surprised that even when women from different places, from different age groups are complaining against Union Minister MJ Akbar, it is termed baseless. It is difficult to stand up alone, but easy to stand up against the powerful if we stand together.”
“Let common sense prevail and let us think about the status of the women who opt to open up in public. They are celebrities in their own right, and I don’t think they need this to promote their status. It’s high time we gave this some serious thought. When India is increasingly becoming unsafe for half of its population, we should think a hundred times before making the mistake of belittling women’s voices,” added Mishra.
Top actor Anu Choudhury said, “It is very unlikely that a woman would make such an allegation only to garner publicity. What do Tanushree, or for that matter people like Himani Shivpuri and Vinta Nanda, stand to gain at this stage of their career? Often it so happens that a girl fails to muster enough courage to narrate her ordeal even to the people close to her immediately after the incident. So, there is nothing wrong if someone tells her story years later when she feels comfortable enough to disclose the matter.”
Saying that she has always supported the cause of women, Anu added, “The victims have the option to move other forums like women’s commission or police to seek justice before raking up the issue in social media.”
Young poet Subhashri Subhasmita Mishra, who is known for her fearless writings on women’s issues, was highly critical of the campaign against #Me Too.
“Can time heal a wound caused by crimes like molestation, rape or any other form of sexual harassment? Is it possible for a victim to erase the traumatic memory even after several years and despite having risen to a top position? At a time when victims as young as eight months old and as elderly as 80 years old are not spared, there is no reason why we should disbelieve the women who have come forward to air their views even after so many years,” said Subhashri. “Rather this counter-campaign against #Me Too is an attempt by some sick minds as they are at risk of being unmasked.”
“It is not only the women, some men also go through such harassment and they too should join this campaign,” she added.