The #MeToo campaign has been flooding social media as proof to the indefinite incidents of sexual harassment endured by women. There has been a diverse response to the bold revelation made by tens and thousands of women.
While there were people supporting the cause some responded with a voyeuristic attitude and sexual undertones. What is surprising is the massive support received by the movement from the youth especially men in Kerala.
Some boys even posted #ForgiveMe and #metooharassedWomen in support of the campaign.
Most of them joined the campaign begging forgiveness for the mild sexual offences committed by them at some point in time.
Few others also joined #MeToo movement citing that it was not only women but they too have faced sexual harassments during their younger days. Some states that they were surprised to find that their friends, classmates, colleagues and even sisters have joined the campaign.
By standing with the movement, most men shared their own experiences, bravely admitting that they themselves have been the ones committing such acts against women. Many of them vowed not to repeat it at any stage of life neither in words or actions. Some men find the campaign as the meaning of true strength of what it takes for women to survive, even thrive, in a society where men try to keep them down at every possible opportunity.
One of the most noted posts was by Joseph Annamkutty Jose who feels that the issue can be solved by educating boys properly. He thinks a mere campaign alone cannot make a change and the real change should start from home.
Joseph made a new #metooharassedWomen, which was widely shared on social media. Several men shared his Facebook post while some made their own additions and declared that they stand by the cause.
The collective move is leading to much-needed discussions which have never happened otherwise. Some extended their support to Joseph with the #ningalodoppam (with you).
#MeToo has slowly transformed to #ForgiveMe among Kerala youth, and it truly has emerged as a sole space for women to realise that they are not alone in translating their echoing thoughts into real life actions.
It is true that a mere hashtag campaign cannot bring much change in a society which is patriarchal in character. However, it is heart-warming to see how young men are responding to it positively. Though most accounts were painful and personal, some going back to their childhood memories where they were harassed by elder ones at home, in school or even on the bus, it was a promising gesture from men who wanted to join hands with women to fight for life with dignity.
The self-reflective confessional mode adopted by a few of them has also led to questioning who the onus should be on, the patriarchal society or the men who indulge in paternalistic trivialization. However, let us hope that the new hashtag will not turn into an attempt to deflect the attention from misogyny to establish patriarchy as the structural roots of violence.