Siddhartha Mishra speaks with journalist and writer Sandhya Menon—who called out prominent journalists for sexual harassment in the wake of the #MeToo wave—about the possibilities and complexities arising out of this still unfolding movement
Is ‘boorish behaviour’ also part of #MeToo in terms of just warning people that ‘this guy is not cool’?
I haven’t used the MeToo hashtag for any of my tweets because of this. If there’s one name for everything, it dilutes the situation. I’m focusing on what constitutes harassment, specifically workplace harassment. POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) clearly shows this. There’s a lot of bandying about on Twitter where people are asking, ‘is this harassment if he backed off’, and such. Yes it is. If you place a hand on my thigh, you’re harassing me, unless we’re in the hugging, holding hands kind of friendship where we understand each other.
Workplace harassment is the larger issue. If women are taking this opportunity to call out people who have treated them badly with regard to consent, safety, health and self-respect, it’s their prerogative to do so. But if you have put yourself out there saying this happened to me, I think you need to find the strength within yourself to see through all the conclusions it could lead to. For instance, if the police got back in touch with you for it, your mind has to kick in and tell you: ‘I put myself out there, now it’s up to me to see it through the consequences.’ You have a choice here. You can decide, “I don’t wanna do this”.