It is a difficult day to be a woman, even as awareness and measures to make our lives simpler have increased. Ironically, they should make things easier, but have they really? Feminist movements are taking shape and efforts are being made to bring in gender equality in most of the fields. There is also #MeToo movement, aimed to empower and support those who have gone through sexual abuse. Amidst all the awareness and support, the women may feel not alone, but the way the movements have gone ahead, they have also left few men in a sorry state. Post #MeToo Movement, Number of Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims Rise in US.
Every complaint may have two sides to it, and just because you were able to see one side does not make it right. Without knowing the other person's involvement or stand in the same situation, it is wrong to make a judgment. Plus with social media at our disposal, we cannot use it as an immediate measure to express a concern. It can ruin someone's reputation and sometimes cause irreparable damage. A few examples from the past illustrate this problem.
In late 2014, two sisters from Rohtak got themselves a tag of "Bravehearts" following a viral video, which showed them bashing up two boys in the bus. The girls beat them up after accusing them of harassment. But just as the two started getting praises for their courage on social media, another video surfaced a few days later showing them kicking another boy. This time there was enough proof to show that the girls were in the wrong and there was no molestation involved. The court intervened and in the year 2017, all the charges against the boys were dropped.
Some reports mentioned that the "Bravehearts" were out to seek attention and because of the case, the boys lost their chance to enrol themselves in the Army. The girls ended up blaming the media for turning them from heroes to villains in a matter of few days. The social media thus, should not be the immediate resort of executing justice. It is a dangerous trend to believe the "survivors" blindly without knowing the other side. Tanushree Dutta Blames Akshay Kumar, Rajinikanth For Failure of #MeToo in India By Working With 'Offenders' like Nana Patekar - Watch Video.
In another case from 2015, Saravjeet Singh, a 28-year-old Delhi resident got a tag of an eve-teaser when a woman Jasleen Kaur posted on Facebook about him making obscene comments at her and verbally abusing her. The post went viral along with Saravjeet's photo. All news channels started carrying it and publicly shaming the guy. When the case escalated, Jasleen refused to come to court hearings and meanwhile, Saravjeet struggled to get that tag off. He could not go to pursue his career while she has left the country, unable to make it to court. The alleged accused is now unemployed and is forced to make rounds at court.
Close on the heels of the Utsav Chakraborty case, a woman complained on Twitter about being sexually harassed, but it was only a case of misunderstanding. She gave out the person's personal details on the Twitter post. If you read the conversation closely, it seems consensual. But since the girl complained, people on the internet are in her support blindly. There is no benefit of the doubt given to the man who has apologised for his wrongdoing in the screenshots she has put up.
These examples and several other cases will show how directly naming and shaming the person do more bad than good. Yes, the women should get support for speaking up. The women should, in fact, be encouraged to speak on the issues, but at the same time, social media need not be an absolute place of respite. Yes, the police proceedings, followed by the court rounds can get tedious, but it is a place where both the sides of the story can be revealed and justice can be served in an unbiased way.
Here's an honest urge to all the women out there, who have unfortunately faced such a situation. You need to speak up about your experience. Turning to social media will make it easier for you, and netizens will hail you only for your bravery. But you need to trust the law of the land first. Take legal actions against your offender before you go online with your complaint. You need more actions in real life than reactions on social media.