Attended an event by ‘We The Women’ yesterday where Tanushree Dutta spoke about what happened to her. She was in conversation with Barkha Dutt and Sandhya Menon, the journalist who started a movement similar to MeToo in India where women are being encouraged to write about sexual harassment they have faced at workplace. Here is what Tanushree Dutta said:
- She was shooting for a movie wherein she had a solo song. Allegedly Nana Patekar manufactured a scene in that song where he was supposed to feel her. She refused. She was told she does not have a choice. She was bullied. We have all seen the view of her in the car getting attacked. She faced the consequences of saying ‘No’.
- Her other allegation was that Vivek Agnihotri said to her “Jao, Kapde utar kar nacho” in the context of giving cues to Irrfan Khan for another song in another movie. Irrfan Khan supported her by saying, “Mujhe acting aati hai”. Sunil Shetty also added, “Main aaun kya cues dene?”
Some key points to note.
Was it sexual harassment?
Yes. In the first instance, at the workplace she was asked to do something without her consent and she faced consequences for refusing. The second remark was extremely demeaning and offensive. For women wondering if it was not a big deal, imagine how YOU would feel if someone told you “kapde utar ke nacho”.For men, if someone said that to your wife, would you like it? To all the people saying she did so much more in Aashiq Banaya Apne, well, that was consent! What people don’t understand is that just because a woman agrees for something one time, it does not grant a license to anyone to do it again. Consent is required each and every time. What happen to her is as bad as getting molested or raped? No. But does that mean it is not wrong? Should women only speak up when they get bruised and beaten? Why should we women continue to normalize obnoxious and crass behavior? Why can’t men start learning how to behave and talk instead? Is human decency really that difficult?
Why do you believe her?
Whatever she said sounded quite believable. For people who are saying she wanted publicity, Tanushree replied that she could have done the item song, made money, stayed in everyone’s good books and continued her career. Also, she is not coming back after 10 years. She had complained and raised her voice then too. But nobody really cared enough.
People in power dominate and abuse their power. It is the truth. It is not even a woman vs man thing. But yes, men have been more powerful than women in most cultures. A woman who may be very weak herself becomes a different person when she becomes a mother-in-law. Why? Power!
Another thing. Most of the harassment happens alone between two people. There is not much proof. Unless you get raped and go to the hospital immediately. In cases of verbal harassment, groping, touching, feeling, rubbing, getting flashed in the face, there is no proof for the most part. It is the word of the victim against the perpetrator. Or the perpetrator’s word against the victim. I cannot convince anyone to believe her. Neither do I wish to.
But here is my two cents:
To all the women reading this:
Yesterday Barkha Dutt asked women from the audience to come up and share their me too story. One lady, with all due respect went on stage and narrated an incident with much conviction about bullying she faced at workplace. It had NOTHING to do with sexual harassment. Please do not confuse the movement with getting back at employers who have not treated you right. Please go ahead and complain to your HR regarding your work-related issues. The metoo movement is for sexual harassment at the workpace. Let us stay focused.
To all the men reading this:
Instead of reacting because of your inflated egos, and crying that not all men are bad, and that poor men are being humiliated in public, please channelize your energy to something constructive. When your male friends crack sexist jokes, forward demeaning videos of women on that all boys group, comment on the legs of that new intern, do you even make any sound? If the answer is NO, then please continue that for our movement too. You do not speak up when you should so better keep silent now also. Not all men are rapists but many men cover up for each other, protect each other, adding to the damage.