In response to the sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, social media has turned into a platform for those who have been sexually harassed or assaulted in their lives. Actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter, “Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” The response to her ‘Me too’ protest is shocking.
Sexual assault is a widespread phenomenon at the very core of the inherently misogynistic society. While the issue is not new, coming from a renowned actress on the heels of Weinstein scandal has brought the topic again under focus. Following Milano’s tweet, not only women, but some men also came out to share their experience of being a sexual victim. Some users chose to give voice to the protest by simply responding to the origin tweet with the hashtag #metoo, while others described their experiences at length through Instagram and Facebook posts, turning social media into a platform of sorrow.
It is natural to believe that the celebrities and actors have secure lives and that things like sexual assault, molestation, or harassment have no place to seep in. However, the coming out of some of the top personalities in response to the campaign is a proof that women are still unsafe even in some of the world’s most developed countries with flourishing economies.
A post shared by Mallika Dua (@mallikadua) on Oct 16, 2017 at 1:19am PDT
Sexual offence many a times goes unnoticed or unreported, due to lack of support from relevant authorities, be it family, workplace, or even law enforcement agencies. Some of the tweets also highlighted how the problem is deep-rooted, and only when the conditioning of children is done right, that they would turn out to be responsible adults.
According to a study by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, nearly one-third of the 90,000 complaints received in 2015 included a harassment allegation — but the agency notes that that number is far too low to reflect reality. They also estimate that 75 percent of all workplace harassment incidents go unreported altogether. A 2003 study found that 75 percent of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation.
Back home in India, the gap in number of sexual offences conducted and reported is even larger. Given the stigma attached to rape, molestation, or even eve-teasing, the cases unreported are much higher than those which are reported and are brought to the book.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), 95 percent rape victims in India have been known to the offenders, including neighbors and immediate family members. Delhi, which is infamously labeled the ‘rape capital of India’, has 2,199 number of ‘reported’ rape cases, which is one of the highest among states.
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