Kerala

#MeToo triggers men’s mea culpa on Kerala campuses

The hashtag campaign on social media platforms seeks to highlight sexual offences against women

The #MeToo fire lit by Alyssa Milano in the US is burning bright in Kerala. Apart from the highly assertive social media platforms, it is spreading fast on the campuses in the State.

It was on October 16 that Ms. Milano urged the women fraternity through a tweet to come out with #MeToo posts in the social media if they had suffered sexual offence of any sort and thereby highlight the gravity of the issue across the world.

Celebrities in India too responded positively to the post and the general public joined soon.

“Girls who encounter sexual offences do not reveal it most of the time. But when you see another person speaking out, it gives you the energy to open up too,” said activist and teacher Divya Diwakaran.

The comments that show up below every such opening up are mostly supportive but there are comments with sexual undertones and voyeuristic attitude too. “The comments do not matter. It is a reflection of how the patriarchal society thinks. It just shows that the campaign is hitting the right target,” said activist Gargi Harithakam.

The #MeToo campaign has become a big hit on the college campuses where a number of girls have dared to reveal details of the offences against them. It has led to active classroom discussions on not just sexual offences, but gender issues in general. Some such revelations have led to an interesting turn of events too.

“Some boys have posted #ForgiveMe in support of the campaign begging forgiveness for the mild sexual offences they had committed at some point of time,” said Sreya Mariyam Salim, a medical student.

Meanwhile, many men have joined the campaign citing that men too face sexual offences during their younger days.

However, there are apprehensions about the wave too. “Sexual offence is just one form of offence while a lot of women go through conditions equivalent to slavery,” said Ms.Harithakam.

Positive feeling

But the apprehensions have not dampened the overall positive feeling created by the campaign. “There are people who question the laws made for women and claim that violence is on men. The overwhelming response to the #MeToo campaign is an answer to them,” Ms. Harithakam said.

The collective opening up is leading to much needed discussions, which would not have happened otherwise. “Now we see men bursting the bubble for other men who make misogynistic comments,” she added.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 8:02:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/metoo-triggers-mens-mea-culpa-on-kerala-campuses/article19898328.ece

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