There are some social media movements that touch not only your heart but also your soul. They may be few and far between but their impact is undeniable. Although this blog really is very different from the inbound marketing blogs we generally publish, this touched our heart in such a way that we just had to write about it.
In a landmark move Time Magazine named "The Silence Breakers" the Person of The Year. So what prompted these Silence Breakers to break out of the shackles of misogynistic pigs they had previously been bound in before?
It's simple, this movement is born out of a very potent sense of unrest. This retribution that is sweeping the world may have left many blindsided but it has been simmering in the dark corners of our minds for decades. Women have had it with men crossing boundaries while denying their very existence. They've had it with the fear of being shamed and being told that they were "asking for it". They've had it with men who misuse their positions of power to hurt women. They've had it with the old Hindi adage of "akeli ladki khuli tijori ki tarah hoti hai".
These women have started a revolution of refusal, refusal to take this unjust treatment that has been meted out and this movement is getting stronger by the day. In the past few months, their anger has changed the way major industries are functioning. Nearly every day movie moguls have fallen and business icons have lost face. In some cases, the accusers have gotten together and brought criminal charges.
Despite it all, this movement doesn't have a single leader or even a unifying tenet. While Alyssa Milano may have set the ball rolling with #MeToo, this hashtag is only part of the picture. But it has provided a platform of solidarity to millions of people across the world to shame their abusers and share the stories they may have never done before.
The women AND men who have spoken up come from vastly different races, occupations and income levels. They range from Hollywood A-Listers to 16-year-olds who have faced these life-changing experiences. They may be part of a nameless movement but they're no longer Ariel.
As an Indian woman, I can tell you that when this movement gained momentum in India I was struck by the number of women who came out with their intensely personal experiences within my social networks. What really struck me was that when they were coming out with their heinous experiences they were tempering it with a soft voice of "Hey! Maybe I was in the wrong. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten myself in that situation?" It made me sad for us on a visceral level. Have we gotten so used to the incessant victim shaming that we have now internalized it too?
As a woman who has faced lewd comments, lasvicious looks, the threat of groping and the harrowing feeling of being followed, it struck me that almost every single Indian woman has been in a similar situation at least once in their lifetime. That is probably the saddest insight that I have gotten from this movement in India.
But what is the silver lining to this dark cloud?
People are now realizing the magnitude of the problem. The days where people around us looked at harassment, molestation, rapes and gang rapes as isolated incidents committed by heinous monsters are almost behind us. They are beginning to realize that the monster lurks within each one of us. The first step of recovery is the recognition of the problem and I can see that recognition finally beginning sink in.
But what about the people who are coming forward to share their traumatic experiences? The experiences that they had suppressed for years and internalized. This sharing on social media is positively cathartic, it is a sigh of relief that will leave them lighter and more buoyant. While social media may be a way for people to primp and preen, this time it can soothe a battle-weary soul. If the comments of support, sharing of experiences and the outpouring of emotions can really help someone recover from an extremely traumatic moment in their life, isn't it the best possible use of social media?
I believe that this reckoning was long overdue and Indians need to come out with the names of their aggressors. Don't let what happened to you stop you from being the brave and strong individual that you are!
"Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it."- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows
I sincerely hope that this blog was able to make you think if nothing else.
Do comment below if you have any views you wish to share or just need a comforting shoulder to lean on.