India's #MeToo Movement Has Caused a Union Minister to Resign and That Defines its Power
The Minister of State for External Affairs had earlier ignored the appeals for his resignation and even went on to file a defamation case against Priya Ramani, the journalist who spoke out against him
India's #MeToo movement has risen and how. Over the past two weeks, the world has watched as social media has erupted with voices of women from all across India, voices that have been suppressed over the years and have finally found their way out. From newspapers to television channels and social media, all are filled with horrid stories of sexual harassment ousting the names of the biggest in every industry, forcing them to resign and let go of the power that they have abused over the years.
Now, the #MeToo movement has seen its biggest impact with the resignation of Union Minister MJ Akbar. The Minister of State for External Affairs had earlier ignored the appeals for his resignation and even went on to file a defamation case against Priya Ramani, the journalist who spoke out against him. When Priya Ramani decided to fight the case, more women came out in support of her accusing Akbar of similar allegations. Akbar then brought out a force of 97 lawyers to stand by him.
But on Wednesday, Akbar decided to put down his papers. In a statement, he said, "Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity."
#MeToo Has Raised a Storm That Will Not Settle
While it took its time to make its way into India, the #MeToo storm has shaken the country. Day after day, there are more allegations pouring in. Women who have been silent for years, fearing the power of the men who abused them, have finally found an ear to listen. And this time they are not keeping quiet. With MJ Akbar's resignation, one thing becomes clear, the Indian #MeToo has picked up momentum large enough to make a Union Minister resign from his position.
Bigwigs from across industries have fallen, some having accepted their faults while some are trying to plead guilty. From Bollywood to the media industry and even the growing comedians' circuit, the accused are from various fields but there's one thing in common now – they will be taken down.
A Fight For The Win
After years of being oppressed by the power that abused them, women are not going to stay silent. They are putting their words out there and are willing to act upon their words to take legal action against the ones accused. India's Child and Women Development Minister Maneka Gandhi assured harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. She had said that they would consider putting a legal panel in place to look into all the cases registered by women.
What remains to be seen is how the voices that have united to stand against the powerful, find their way into the courts and finally, after years of doubt, trauma and harassment, finally find a way to end the abuse to ensure their stories are not relieved by others.
Are you too a survivor of the #MeToo Movement? Read: Is There a #MeToo Moment at Your Workplace? Here is What You Need to Do