In light of the #MeToo movement that has taken the internet by storm, the Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, has taken a positive step to help survivors. She said that her ministry would set up a four-member committee to conduct public hearings of sexual abuse cases.
Over a hundred names have come up since the anti-sexual harassment movement gained pace in India. Many of these names belong to men in positions of power, ranging from media to politics and cinema. Women and men are braving consequences such as losing their jobs and facing threats to their safety and security in naming these powerful people and holding them accountable for their actions.
“I believe in all of them. I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complainant.
I am proposing to set up a committee with senior judicial and legal persons as members to look into all issues emanating from the #MeToo campaign,” she told PTI.
The committee of retired judges, Gandhi proposed, will address the existing legal and institutional framework to handle cases of sexual harassment.
If deemed necessary, it will also raise suggestions to strengthen the framework.
— Ministry of WCD (@MinistryWCD) October 12, 2018
“Women are scared to speak out because they think people would make fun of them and doubt their character but now when they are speaking out, we should take action against each and every allegation,” Gandhi said. She added, “There should be an investigation. Men who are in positions of power often do this. And it applies to the media as well as to politics or senior personnel in companies.”
The four-member panel will also conduct hearings about sexual harassment cases on social media.
With powerful people like M J Akbar being accused of sexual abuse by several survivors, this committee of seniors in the field of law seems like a very positive step. The movement has taken the digital world by storm, and it only fits that the authorities take the #MeToo movement to real-life consequences.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)