Published: 17th October 2017
OPINION: When so many women say Me Too about sexual abuse on FB, the quieter ones will speak up
Chennai-based psychologist Mini Rao's take on the #MeToo campaign and why she thinks it would help millions of women speak up about the smaller and bigger kinds of abuse
I just put a status recounting how I was harassed in college and it felt so good. I'm a psychologist but I've never spoken about this in all these years and just letting it out felt like a huge burden was off. If it feels so good for me, I can only imagine how the women around the world must be feeling. The fact that one woman sees so many other women who have had similar experiences makes them feel like they have the support that they might not have gotten otherwise.
Women who haven't spoken about it all their lives are suddenly mustering up the courage to do it now and I think that is wonderful. Many women have a lot of pent-up anger and displaying it on social media will probably give rise to some amount of guilt. Opening up about instances of abuse could give justice a chance.
#Me too: Dr Mini Rao calls the global movement a great way to speak up about abuse
Generally even just talking to someone about your troubles immediately lightens your burden, so having the chance to do os to such a large number of people can be very comforting for a lot of women. Especially because in many cases women hide their stories of sexual assault because they feel guilty about it or ashamed or feel like they have been complicit in the act. So talking is therapy and it helps the victims feel less guilty and little by little they can probably get over it. If women continue to hide these stories, they could suffer a nervous break down some day.
Many women are harassed by their own families because it is such a taboo to speak about sexual abuse outside. I know parents who just tell the child to get over whatever has happened to them by just sending them to therapy. All they care about is what the society would think of them, I tell these parents that secretly sending their children to therapy is not going to help their child overcome anything. Parents should stop caring about what society thinks of them and instead direct their full attention to their child.
Millions are speaking out because they have the support of millions. We need to show the world that both men and the society are depraved. I get catcalled six times by the time I walk to the shop down the street. That's how the world is. But this movement could mean that men finally begin to understand what it feels like to be a woman in this world and it's great that it is such a global movement. I hope more women feel like they can tell their stories.
(As told to Johanna Deeksha)