Photo Credit: Vinita Agrawal
The recent #MeToo campaign has been unprecedented in the history of feminism. It garnered the participation of women across age groups, across nationalities, race and economic status. Its impact on the social media was unprecedented. The campaign serves as the beacon light for gender exploitation to move from from the sidelines to the core of social awareness. For the first time, men are not detached, some have even come out in the open with stories of exploitation of their own. Other men are looking or feeling guilty of being complicit in stories of sexual abuse.
In an essay on feminism, The Boston Review questions whether feminism ‘s past mistakes might ‘haunt’ #MeToo. “When does a watershed become a sex panic?” Masha Gessen asked recently in the New Yorker. The answer: what we are witnessing are not the omens of a looming sex panic; they are the symptoms of the one we are already in, and have been in for forty years.
It is unlikely we will be able to walk back the sex-crimes statutes we already have, but we may be able not to worsen them if we can avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Three broad points have emerged from the campaign:
firstly, conflating a wide range of behaviors as equally harmful;
second, broadening the definitions of illegal acts and hardening their punishment. The laws exist, they just need to be implemented better.
and third, yielding to the desire for retribution, which only perpetuates brutality, rather than working for restorative justice, which holds the potential for genuine accountability and lasting change.
Four decades ago, feminists revealed another sexual scourge: child sexual abuse. Like sexual harassment, child sexual abuse happens in the dark—usually at home or with people the child knows. And as with workplace harassers, abusers choose victims who are vulnerable, dependent, or unable to escape. They deploy flattery and shame, bribes and threats to ensure silence.
Few victims mustered the courage to tell. But when they did, they were often met with disbelief. Even people who were aware of the abuse turned their backs.
Now, through the MeToo campaign trust is being questioned for what it’s worth, beliefs being eroded in the face of exploitation and a new awareness rising as more and more people come out with their stories.
Source : The Boston Review