When and how #MeToo movement started?

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New Delhi | October 14, 2018 4:09 PM

In India, several women have bravely come out with the horrifying stories at the workplace at the hands of the powerful and higher-ups.

The movement had originated in 2017. (File photo: Reuters)

The MeToo campaign is picking up in India with new names being revealed after Tanushree Dutta’s complaint of sexual misconduct sparked an outrage and led to tremendous support and the subsequent allegations against many other personalities from the film and media industries. With big names facing allegations and women coming out on social media with their experiences of harassment and sexual violence, the debate around the safe working environment for women has taken the centre stage.

In India, several women have bravely come out with the horrifying stories at the workplace at the hands of the powerful and higher-ups. Many terming the campaign as an eye-opener while several people have come out in support of the women who are speaking about the sexual harassment that they faced. However, the campaign which is trending in India on social media and public minds has its origin in the West.

When did #MeToo movement start?

The MeToo momentum started trending in India after Tanushree Dutta, who in an interview, alleged that actor Nana Patekar misbehaved with her while filming a song in a film in 2008. Soon after many well-known comedians, journalists, and actors have been named and shamed on social media in the past few days as allegations of sexual misconduct continue to burst out. Actors like Akshay Kumar, Amir Khan have distanced themselves from the film productions involving any accused.

Indian politics has also come under the flow of the movement with the name of Union Minister MJ Akbar, against whom multiple journalists have made accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour when he was a newspaper editor.

With each day passing new names with allegations of sexual harassment are surfacing, the demand for justice has also gained a significant position among the masses. Moreover, to address the issue the Union government has formed a legal panel to look into the matter.

The movement had originated in 2017, when #metoo, a hashtag was promoted by the actress Alyssa Milano. According to a New York Times report, Milano was seeking to give a voice to sexual abuse victims, after accusations of sexual harassment and assault were levelled against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, by over 70 women.

The movement soon found support from Hollywood actors Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, and Uma Thurman. The reach and impact were such that Time magazine’s Person of the Year, 2017, went to ‘The Silence Breakers’ – those who have shared their stories about sexual assault and harassment. The magazine’s cover featured Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu and Isabel Pascual.

After Milano’s tweet, social media was flooded with stories of sexual assault and #metoo became a way to tell the ordeal. People supporting the women and the campaign also started tweeting with the hashtag and it was being used across social media platforms like Facebook, where, according to The Associated Press, it was shared in more than 12 million posts and reactions in the first 24 hours.

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