#Metoo Movement: A Campaign Of The Women, By The Women, For The Women.

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#Metoo Movement: A Campaign Of The Women, By The Women, For The Women.

“Get up. Stand up. Speak up. Do something. You are not alone, this happened to me too. [1]

“MeToo” as a term was coined by Tarana Burke, an African-American civil rights activist who is the senior director of ‘Girls for Gender Equity’ in Brooklyn. The ‘Me Too’ movement was started by Burke, in 2006, to help all sexual assault survivors, especially the women of colour. The phrase was coined on her ‘My Space’ page while she was working at “Just Be Inc”, a non-profit company, that she founded.

In 2017, Tanara Burke, among some other female activists, was named “The Silence Breakers” by Time magazine. In the same year, Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey, journalists with The New York Times, broke the story of sexual scandals involving film producer Harvey Weinstein.

They went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for 2018 for their story.

In India, women have learnt to occupy spaces without making much noise. While this may have insulated society from disruptive shocks, it is also why a majority of Indian women still remain voiceless. Society has not made it easy for the woman to speak up. Parliament, the apex institution for representation of the interests of our people, only has around 11% women members, despite women comprising almost half the population. The absence of women in positions of power and the lack of an overarching feminist consciousness among women has made the fight for their rights all the more grueling. For all the above reasons, the ongoing #MeToo movement in India is a welcome surprise. Despite the risk of alienation, women have chosen to speak up against men of power and influence like MJ Akbar, Chetan Bhagat and Nana Patekar among others. The present article tries to bring to light the controversial legal issues involved in the movement ranging from harassment at workplaces and delay in lodging complaints.


It was only in 1997 that sexual harassment of women at workplace was recognised as a civil wrong, and guidelines for their prevention, prohibition and redressal were laid down by the Supreme Court in Vishaka v State of Rajasthan[2] in order to fill the lacunae in law. 
It took almost a decade and half for the State to pass a law. In 2013, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act codified sexual harassment at the workplace as a misconduct with civil remedy. Sexual harassment encompasses a range of behaviours, from a lewd joke to a proposition for sexual favours to molestation and sexual assault. 


Delay in lodging FIR more often than not, results in embellishment and exaggeration, which is a creature of an afterthought. A delayed report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity, the danger of the introduction of a coloured version, an exaggerated account of the incident or a concocted story as a result of deliberations and consultations, also creeps in, casting a serious doubt on its veracity. Thus, FIR is to be filed more promptly and if there is any delay, the prosecution must furnish a satisfactory explanation for the same for the reason that in case the substratum of the evidence given by the complainant/informant is found to be unreliable, the prosecution case has to be rejected in its entirety[3]. The Supreme Court has further in case of Satpal Singh v. State of Haryana, (2010) 8 SCC 714, held that however, no straitjacket formula can be laid down in this regard. In case of sexual offences, the criteria may be different altogether. As honour of the family is involved, its members have to decide whether to take the matter to the court or not. In such a fact situation, near relations of the prosecutrix may take time as to what course of action should be adopted. Thus, delay is bound to occur. But the delay must be satisfactorily be explained the court of law.


So far as victims of Metoo Campaign are considered, they are coming after several years when the crime was already committed. In law, the famous latin maxim comes into operation i.e. vigilantibus non dormientibus jura subveniunt meaning thereby that law supports the vigilants and not those who sleep over their rights. It is a humble submission that all these women who are in limelight belongs to well-educated family and are aware of their legal right so what considerations kept them away from lodging FIR when that gruesome act was committed.

Moreover whether it is a publicity stunt or something actually happened with them is matter which the court of law has to decide. So far as newspaper reports are considered very few victims of such harassment have lodged a complaint before Police, while rest are just accusing the male members on television and the media is busy tarnishing the image of male members by media trial.

Whether Metoo Campaign is a women empowerment campaign or just a sham, it will be decided only in coming days.  

[1] “Get up. Stand up. Speak up. Do something..” http://www.brainyquote.com, 12 Sep. 2018, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/tarana_burke_919478. Accessed 15 Oct. 2018.

[2] (1997) 6 SCC 241

[3] State of A.P. v. M. Madhusudhan Rao (2008) 15 SCC 582

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