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#MeToo Movement

What is #Metoo Movement?
In 2006 Tarana Burke a social activist and a community organizer set up a campaign known as „ Metoo campaign‟ against the sexual harassment and sexual abuse particularly those who were of color and belong to underprivileged communities. Her inspiration to create this campaign emerged when a 13 year old girl confided in her to tell that she was sexually abused and assaulted, having unable to respond, the girl simply told „metoo‟. From the time many people became a part of this campaign in order to create social benefit or to gain publicity. The term #Metoo was used for the first time on myspace network. 1

Initially, the phrase was not gain so much popularity, but in 2017 when an American actress Alyssa Milano used the term against film producer Harvey Weinstein exposing her„ metoo‟ story on social network. She also appealed many women to come forward to put„ metoo‟ as a status, if they had been the victim of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Within a night her tweet respond with a thousands and on the next day almost 5 lakh people tweet„ metoo‟ phrase on social media. With this, the term gain fast and it empower a women to stand with confidence in order to disclose the guilty one. Thus, the beginning of its from entertainment industry, in many other field the tem popularized e.g music industry, schools, colleges, politics and more.23

In India #metoo movement started when Tanushree Dutta reveal her controversial story on social network. She said during her shoot of film Horn Ok Please in 2008 Nana Patekar behaved in a very unwelcome and weird way. Though the portion of how much right and wrong is not known to anyone, but Nana Patekar in his reply said that he did not understand why Tanushree Dutta alleged such act against him. When the #metoo movement flooded on social network space many other reknowed person like Alok Nath, M.J Akbar, Kailesh Kher, Chetan Bhagat, Ganesh Acharya, Vikas Bahl, Sajid Khan and many others are come into view.4

Social Impact of #metoo
Since, the phrase metoo achieved its position on social media, many people are quite awaken to punished those person who went scot-free even the victim knowing the fact that their act is against the law and against their dignity (specially women), and unable to get them behind the bar from such offences. The startup of #metoo movement has both positive and negative impact on society.

The positive side of #metoo movement is that it empowers a women out in world in terms of speaking out against the inappropriate and unwelcome act being face by them at workplace. #metoo also support a women to feel more confident that they are going to be heard and some supportive community are there for them. When the #metoo encouraged by Hollywood actress


Alyssa Miliano, several other hashtag related to sharing a story of sexual harassment at workplace has been comes into face e.g, in different fields #metoo favoured by Fashion Industries, Media, Sports, Music Industry, Education Institution, Politics and Government, Church, Military, Pornography etc and in response to #metoo other phrases like #churchtoo, #metoomilitary #SilenceIsnotSpiritual, #YouOksis, #metooSTEM and many more has been spread on social media against the sexual abuse and sexual harassment.5

Famous people from different industries spread awareness through music, poem, protest, books, documentary film etc. Thus the rapid dissemination of #metoo through different process has resulted into conviction of dozens of powerful men having been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct.

At both National and International level #metoo movement guide the social welfare oraganizations and NGOs working for the safety of a women to do their best effort with the support of many people around the world. Attempt was also made to spread sex education programme to teach the school going child about the good and bad touch, so that they may identify and say no to unwanted sexual conduct. It also led the women to realize their power and strength in a society against men, as from the past the patriarchal ideas that has been passing from generation to generation, women as inferior to men are now being build up at new phase, that is women are now equal to men.6

Many employers are force to change their system like making equal gender based payment, strengthening the provisions for safety of women and adopting a committee for filing a complaint. And it also help to recognize the prevalence of sexual violence in different countries. In our society many such unlawful acts particularly against women are become a routine for some people to tease them, to showoff their power and strength, to threaten a women, to ask for sexual favour etc, therefore what need to be change is still somewhere or somewhat under the discussion.

As its acceptance or fame on social media as #metoo it approach many youngsters to develop new ideas and tools to prevent such activity at workplace, schools, church, colleges etc so that the safety of a women may be assured and it assist to shape the society in a fair manner.

The negative sides of #metoo movement has also gone too far. It is said that alleged victim can be lie or they can fail to remember things and this led to ruins a good man‟s life. Even, the opposition said that the person may concatenate a story to defame ones personality or had some motive to cause damage to them. In the name of justice people are using fake and make up allegations in order to gain publicity or name among the public. Though, it shows the citizen lack of honor towards a judiciary system and its credibility. It also led a good and respectable man to feel uncomfortable to be around the women at a workplace. Some sort of wrong perception on men has also made a bad impact, so they express their desire to keep distance from women since7

#metoo went viral, as they did not understand what actions might be considered as inappropriate.

Due to the fear of negative consequences men find it difficult to participate in conversations.

While with the trending of #metoo on social platform #himtoo was also associated in order to prevent a male victim of false accusations. All men who have suffered from false allegations considered this movement as encouraging unethical females to frame males they hate. Thus, #metoo movement had shown absence of its instrumental process while dealing with both the sides.

Legal Impact of #metoo movement
When the #metoo spread like a disease in a world, there was a hue and cry among the people to punish the perpetrators, which led to shook up the legal system of a country. In general, since the #metoo phrase popularize on cyber space many countries felt the enactment of new legislation to overcome sexual harassment and provide safety provisions on women rights, which has been neglected and ignore from a very long period. When the investigation was made it was sad to know that in many countries parliament members and law officials are found guilty of sexual misconduct, and thus it provides a reason for too long silence on sexual harassment. Many women are also feared from fired and threat to life therefore the legislation to close the payment gap was adopted. Through various modes and process the government gradually determined the rights of a women and the Zero Tolerence effort was initiated.

Many learned people had suggested that the barriers to employment must be removed like non disclosure agreement. It was laid down by the employer as a job requirement or condition to sign non disclosure agreement or any other agreement which would prevent an employee talking about their employment publicy or taking disputes such as sexual harassment to legal procedings. With the help of #metoo such provisions are now banned and multiple states have been passed a legislation to restrict the use of such agreement and confidentiality provisions in sexual harassment and sexual abuses case.

Likewise, sexual harassment traning and policies have also been adopted in many countries like in New York state and Massachusetts it is mandatory for an employers with more than six employees to adopt written policies against sexual harassment. It was also declared that if there is any existing contract that mandate arbitration of sexual harassment claims is considered as null and void. In a country like China where the Government regularly suppressed the discussions on women rights, #metoo gave a courage to a women of china to speak up and forced the government to enact new laws for the safety of women and provisions against the sexual misconduct at workplace.8

In India a law related to sexual harassment of a woman at workplace was initially laid down by Supreme court in Vishakha and Ors vs state of Rajasthan. Various guidelines regarding the safety of a women at workplace had been taken up which resulted into formation of Sexual Harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2003.

This Act prescribes procedures for a complaint and inquiry and a law to punish the accused with imprisonment and monetary fine. Section 26 of the Act dealt with the penalty provision to any person or employer who found guilty of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Government also broaden up the 2013 Act by making mandatory provision, that every employer of a company shall constitute an Internal Complaint Committee at each office or branch, where the number of employees is 10 or more than 10 members. This Committee helps a woman to file complaint against the accused and ICC shall start inquiry within 90 days.

Under section 509 of Indian Penal Code (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman, maximum punishment one year jail with fine) it provides that an aggrieved party can approach court or report to police in case the ICC failed to inquire into the matter. ICC has similar power as civil court in respect of summoning and examining any person on oath, requiring the discovery and production of documents. As per the data presented in 2018, in our country (India) almost 533 cases of sexual harassment and sexual abuse has been filed. Thus, all these show that women in India are still remain unprotected and the efforts of law makers to maintain healthy and safe environment for women at workplace. 910

Many others laws has been also amended like defamation, because of the plenty of false allegations by women against an innocent and good man. It prescribes a provision that in case a woman failed to prove her allegations she will be held liable for defamation and for that punishment shall be inflicted which may extend to two years.

Conclusion
After considering and understanding the #metoo campaign or movement it has been clear that safety of a women becomes one of the crucial and important steps to be taken care of by the government and the stakeholders. The legal system should be set up and awareness among the people shall be conducted. The most effective method to assure the safety of women at workplace may be succeed when there is a gender based equality and freedom.

End-Notes:

  1. What is MeToo movment after all available at https://www.talkingnibs.com/what-is-me-too-movement-after-all/( visited on 10 April 2019
  2. Kimberly Clarke and Karen Carmody,  Me Too: Hashtag and Social Movement available at https://www.continuum.umn.edu/2018/02/hashtag-social-movement/ (visited on 11 April 2019) 3 Sandra E. Garisa,  The woman who created #Metoo long before hashtag available at
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/20/us/me-too-movement-tarana-burke.html visited on 12 April 2019 4 What is #Metoo Movement? available at https://indianexpress.com/article/india/metoo-movement-india-5396200/ (visited on 13 April 2019)
  3. Sandee LaMotle How #Metoo could move from social campaign to social change available at https://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/30/health/metoo-legacy/index.html (visited on 14 April 2019)
  4. Shreya Thpliyal What is #metoo movement? History, significance and impact available at https://www.thestatesman.com/world/metoo-movement-history-significance-impact-1502696481.html (visited on 15 April 2019)
  5. Lauren Hall The accidental negative side effects of #Metoo movement available at https://www.crowdh.com/negative-side-effects-metoo-movement/ (visited on 16 April 2019)
  6. Patricia Ambrose #MeToo movement impact on Non disclosure agreement or clauses covering sexual harassment available at https://www.hlemploymentblog.com/2018/04/metoo-movements-impact-nondisclosure-agreements-clauses-covering-sexual-harassment/ (visited on 17 April 2019)
  7. Admin Lawnn,  #MeToo movement in India, sexual harassment at workplace available at https://lawnn.com/me-too-movement-in-india-sexual-harassment/ (visited on 20th April 2019)
    Legal Implications of #Metoo available at http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/Legal-Implications-of-Metoo-movement-9558.asp ( visited on 21 April 2019)

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