The world is shocked at the revelation by scores of women regarding sexual molestation and inappropriate behaviour by their male colleagues, bosses, acquaintances, relatives etc. In India, this started with yesteryear’s starlet Tanushree Dutta accusing veteran actor Nana Patekar of inappropriate behaviour during the shooting of one of the movies in which they starred together. This led to several other women accusing many other well known and not so well known personalities of sexual molestation, inappropriate behaviour and outright rape. The accusers include names such as Sandhya Mridul, Deepika Amin, Vinta Nanda, Sona Mahapatra etc and the accused include names like Rajat Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, Alok Nath, Sajid Khan, Kailash Kher etc.
However, much before Tanushree Dutta revealed her story, Hollywood producer Harvey Wienstein was accused by multitude of ladies including names like Rose McGowan, Gwyeth Paltrow, Ashley Judd etc of molestation and rape. Legendary actor Bill Cosby is a sexual molestation offender and newly appointed US Chief Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual molestation in his student days.
Like all other issues, the nation is sharply divided amongst those who support this #Me Too campaign and those who call this sham being an attempt by marginalised people to hog some limelight! Actually, both the views are extreme and bereft of logical reasoning. We must applaud the courage of these women who exposed the real face of so called respected but vicious men, albeit years after the actual incident happened! Casting couch is something that we have all heard about with Bollywood producers, stars, middlemen etc exploiting the young budding starlets under the pretext of giving break to them! Give and take of this nature is abhorrent but then it’s something agreed to between the two parties and later on if one projects herself to be a victim of someone’s lust, it could be a promise not kept or a contract not honoured but definitely not a case of rape or molestation! Inappropriate behaviour is to be dealt with then and there but if it is exposed 10-20 years after it actually happened, the victim could be accused of trying to seek some publicity or mileage out of an incident of distant past! Not that it makes the act any less shameful or detestable, if one is seeking a legal remediation, law of limitation applies to everything that’s pertaining to law! People do move on in life and many of them may not be habitual sex creeps; in fact, several men like Rajat Kapoor, Piyush Mishra etc have tendered their unqualified apology though they do not seem to be remembering the specific incident held against them! And why blame other men, when it’s clear from the revelations by people of eminence like Padmalakshmi, Tahira Kashyap and many others that worst form of molestation happened at the hands of close relatives as a child, which is the worst form of incest! The problem is deep rooted and required to be tackled at society/community level – unfortunately, the celebrities evoke less sympathy and more curiosity making a a serious issue sleazy! It’s not the men vs. women – it’s a social malaise meriting downright thumbs down, irrespective of the circumstances or nature of the incident! It’s not about Me Too; the campaign should be renamed #Never Again!!!!!