#MeToo- A Hashtag Revolution to make your Day

Safecity- Elsa D'Silva
Posted October 18, 2017 from India

The viral spread of hashtag ‘me too’ has burst the dam of several thousands of repressed voices, those voices that were downplayed by years and years of normalization of sexual harassment. The crack in the dam has witnessed sporadic seepage of outbursts of voices throughout the years.

It goes as early as October 1798, during the ‘Women’s march on Versailles,’ which started as a French food riot, over scarcity and high cost of bread, and later merged with activities of revolutionaries seeking political reforms. We know of different waves of feminism having played monumental roles in securing rights for women. There was also the ‘Rojava revolution’ of Kurdish women, which saw an increase in women’s participation in politics, helping women dealing with sexual assault, etc. with the advent of technology and social media, we find hashtags we can relate with, which aim at starting discussions on social issues and bringing about a positive, wholesome change. Here are some of the hashtags-http://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/21-hashtags-that-changed-the-way-we-talk-about-feminism_us_56ec0978e4b084c6722000d1

Coming back to the most recent one, #metoo and why it is so very important. Truth be told, it shouldn’t take a hashtag to realize wrongs in society, but where self-realization has clearly not brought about the required change, such a push is meant to do the trick.

The first time that I was molested in the general compartment of a local train, I was in shock, I couldn’t react. I quickly got down at the next station to board another train. I cried all the way home, wiped off my tears to avoid unwanted questions. I didn’t talk about it to anyone. I thought I could deal with it in my own way, despite recurring nightmares, reluctance in getting into general compartments, being hyper vigilant all the time in public spaces. I felt guilty, I was ashamed, and for the longest time, I thought it was my fault. Since then, I’ve learnt to fight back, to yell, call for help, slap, hit with an umbrella, etc. because I can’t seem to catch hold of the running away perpetrator to drag him to the authorities.

Even though I know I have law on my side, I look down and quicken my pace when someone catcalls or throws obscenities or masturbates publicly as I walk down a street. I think and rethink before wearing my super comfortable pair of shorts, I avoid crowded places, public celebrations of festivals and deny myself of a number of things. This is exactly the product of normalization and victim shaming. I’m trying to change this and I hope I succeed. When my timeline floods with similar stories, I want to give strength and warmth to all.

So, how is this one social media hashtag going to solve the gargantuan problem before us?

This is a start to a discussion. This is victims coming out and no longer staying quiet fearing victim blaming and shaming. This is every person who has faced sexual assault realizing that it is not normal or okay or accepting and digesting what befell them. This is for those living in a bubble to realize the gravity of the situation when not only some person in a news report faced sexual harassment, but also almost every other person on your friend list, who you are close to. It is for people to realize that not only females but also males and many other cis/trans persons have suffered. It isn’t easy for people to read these statuses which have probably been triggers for many.

This is a social reverberation of existing and potential influencers of change. It is not just for you to realize and change yourself, it is also for you to influence others and make sure people around you don’t go back into the quagmire of sexist and racist comments/jokes, insensitive, misogynistic way of life, etc. We can call out perpetrators, help out victims, show solidarity, not brush over voices of minorities and underrepresented. We have the ability to do a lot if we put our minds to it.

We have the power break these shackles of normalization and trivialization of social problems. We have it in us, to slowly, but surely, bring about a change for good. Let this fire never die down.

Opinions are of the writer. This blog was first published on Safecity.

Rudhdi Walawalkarisa first year law student at ILS Law college, Pune. She reads, writes and paints as much as she eats and sleeps! I think it’s nice to have an opinion in a world where everyone wants to be politically correct. Passionate about women’s right, cats, dogs and pretty much everything under the sun. Oh! I always strive to be a better Gryffindor- where dwell the brave at heart.

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Comments 9

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QueenVirtuous
Oct 19, 2017
Oct 19, 2017

Dear Safecity and Rudhdi Walawalkar (the ever-evolving Gryffindor),

I must salute your courage. One of the most difficult things to do besides surviving an assault is coming out about it. Most times, people don't want to (which is quite the normal reaction). I've been there too many times myself. It often takes being surrounded by a community of fellow victims/survivors to make it possible to open up comfortably and, furthermore, to put the issue in public light so that it can be exposed and properly dealt with. The individual voices and emotions of many victims are very often lost in a very large physical community, but an online community created by a hashtag gives room for more and more voices to be heard on a global scale. This is why I love creating hashtags around sensitive topics concerning women.

Again, I salute your courage, and it is my desire to see the #metoo hashtag achieve its goal of fueling change and debarring the normalization and trivialization of gender-based crimes through discussion.

Stay fired up. World Pulse loves you, and so do I.

Safecity- Elsa D'Silva
Nov 07, 2017
Nov 07, 2017

Dear QueenVirtuous,

Thank you for reading our piece and sharing your thoughts. It is heart-warming to read your words of encouragement. True, hashtags have the power to create a movement that binds people across the world and bring them together. Some of the other hashtags we use in our campaigns are #pinthecreep and #breakthesilence. Do look us up on Twitter and join our tweetchats every Friday at 9 pm IST.

In solidarity,

Safecity

Aelaf Mesele
Oct 24, 2017
Oct 24, 2017

Great

Safecity- Elsa D'Silva
Nov 07, 2017
Nov 07, 2017

Thank you, Aelaf.

Sister Zeph
Oct 30, 2017
Oct 30, 2017

Great job my dear, you have a great potential to be a voice of voiceless as you speak from your heart and I have felt it while reading this story which is a story of every woman in our world thank you for sharing to us 

Safecity- Elsa D'Silva
Nov 07, 2017
Nov 07, 2017

Dear Sister Zeph,

Thank you so much for reading our piece and your kind words. We hope to encourage people to break their silences to report any sort of violence they might have faced.

Regards,

Safecity

maeann
Nov 01, 2017
Nov 01, 2017

Hello Safecity and Rudhdi Walawalkar,

Thank you for this.  I am amazed you have......Safecity is now available on Android and iOS Phones. Supporting your hashtag #metoo

Safecity- Elsa D'Silva
Nov 07, 2017
Nov 07, 2017

Dear Maeann,

Thank you for reading our piece. Yes, we finally have our mobile app in an attempt to make reporting for convenient and accessible to all. Do download the app, give us feedback and encourage others to report sexual harassment via our app too.

Warm regards,

Safecity

maeann
Nov 07, 2017
Nov 07, 2017

thank you :) uploaded and following your fb page