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#MeToo | Men Should Realise No Means No

#MeToo | Men Should Realise No Means No

Bollywood, comedy, and most damagingly, media...as industry after industry says #MeToo to guilt and complicity, it’s time organisations refuse consent to the predatory culture

#MeToo | Men Should Realise No Means No Illustration by Irfan

An actor who made a career out of his sanskari image is accused of rape. A film-maker known for one of the most refreshing feminist films from the Bollywood stables is called out for alleged sexual harassment and intimidation. A high-profile journalist who shot to fame with a report on Haryana’s “rape culture” stands accused of bullying and harassing women. A best-selling auth­­or is charged with propositioning an unwilling woman. A Union minister who was once among the top editors in India is accused of serial abuse by women journalists. It’s a list that refuses to end, a serpentine trail of predatory behaviour by some well-known men that include former journalist M.J. Akbar, actors Nana Patekar and Alok Nath, authors Chetan Bhagat and Kiran Nagarkar, film-ma­ker Vikas Bahl, former editor Gautam Adhikari, journalists K.R. Sreenivas and Meghnad Bose and comedian Tanmay Bhat. Many of the accusers are well-known women; some are just faceless, nameless victims. In many cases there is damning proof in the form of screenshots of WhatsApp conversations. In some, it’s just one person’s word against the other.

It could be the most defining moment of the #MeToo movement in India, a country where a majo­rity of the women find themselves on the lowest rung of the social hierarchy and are frequent victims of a society where misogyny and patriarchy run deep. But it could also collapse under the burden of its own expectations and contradictions, as the maelstrom of truth and allegedly false accusations jostle in the hazy space of Twitter and Facebook.

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