News of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually abusing and harassing women has not only sent shock waves but also opened a can of worms across the world. Several women, since then, have come forth and shared disturbing stories of how they were sexually abused and harassed at homes, workplaces, outside by men they knew and also strangers. Women in social media are speaking in unison — Me Too.
It started with actress Alyssa Milano tweeting a note that urged women, who have been sexually harassed or molested to put “Me Too” as their status. This led to a plethora of responses from women and though the stories are seemingly different they are intrinsically similar— they were touched inappropriately and without consent. Recently, even comedian Mallika Dua shared her own disturbing experience.
Although women are sharing their narrative, it goes without saying that there is also an onus on men to share their reckless behaviour. And while some are indeed sharing it, Shariq Rafeek, a writer by profession, shared a Twitter thread on how he “had been bad in many ways”, behaved “pushy” and “lewd” with women in the past and derived fun out of it. But he is “#SoDoneChilling”, he writes and has not hesitated in taking complete responsibility for his actions.
“In college, I popped girls’ bra straps in class, from behind. It was a laugh, and I used to tell people about it with barely hidden pride,” he wrote. He also shared how he asked persistently asked out one of his friends.”She’d said no multiple times. I didn’t get the hint. Eventually I stopped.” What is more alarming, however, is that his behaviour was secretly admired and encouraged by his friends of the same gender. “One thing that made this easy was men around me condoning my behaviour. Either they were laughing off my actions as me being cheeky,” he wrote. But it did not take him long to understand it was he who was in the wrong, and though it was difficult to acknowledge he did own up to them.
He is, thus, through his Twitter thread, urging other men to do the same. “What matters is what you do RIGHT NOW. What you do next. Listen to the women around you. Help them feel safe,” he wrote.
indianexpress.com has reached out Rafeek for comments on his Twitter thread and its implication.
What are your thoughts on the #MeToo movement? Have you been victimised or been a bully yourself? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below.