#MeToo may have come as a storm, in two distinct and momentous bursts that broke upon India, but it’s obviously not a simple “moment” that has passed, leaving everyone to cope with the next headline event. Something as complex as this stays in the bloodstream of society, changing behaviour, subtly altering the atmosphere, exerting its influence in various ways, not all of them savoury. Two months since a band of women spoke out against the inappropriate conduct of men, calling them out in public, often with evidence, there even seems to be a reverse wave—of silent reprisals.
It’s happening at several levels. Individual women are paying the price for speaking out, being labelled as ‘problem-makers’. And it has, unfortunately, set off a domino effect, even if not overtly, that may affect women in general. Many organisations are feeling wary about hiring women and are, informally, talking about scaling down women employees. This is beside the note of caution that has entered socialising between the genders in workplaces, as anecdotal evidence suggests. A movement to fight predatory male behaviour may thus actually also end up hurting women in ways.