In last two days, millions of women and men across the world used hashtag #MeToo to come together in solidarity with other people who were sexually harassed/assaulted. It is appalling to see the number of Me Too hashtags on Facebook and Twitter. And it is not just us, common people, who are disturbed seeing our friends and acquaintances shared their stories of sexual harassment or using the hashtag, even Kolkata Police is perturbed and shared a heartfelt note about it on their Facebook page.
With number of cases of crime against women rising in India, Kolkata, which was earlier considered a safe city for women, has also joined the ranks of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which fail to provide basic sense of security to their women.
No woman in India (or world) is alien to leering, jeering, catcalling, lewd remarks and the Me Too campaign is first-of-its-kind to bring together, not just women but people across all genders to come out and let the society realise the magnitude of the problem.
Here’s Kolkata Police’s note:
Yesterday and today, we found Facebook and Twitter full of the metoo hashtag, which exposes the shocking number of women who have been subject to sexual harassment.
We at Kolkata Police have been perturbed by the number of women who have shared #metoo. And we would also like to reiterate our pledge and commitment by saying that we hear every single one of you.
We are here to take your complaints every time you want to report a case of sexual harassment. So walk into our police stations whenever you want to report sexual harassment, and our officers are there to hear your experiences with patience and kindness and take your complaints. We urge you to be strong, we want you to be very, very angry about the leering, jeering, threats, verbal and physical abuses, we are asking you to be not afraid and to report to the police every time.
We also feel it important to talk to boys about the need to stop sexual harassment, and for this, we have recently launched a project, Dear Boys, in schools. We have visited ten schools of Kolkata, and the second part of Dear Boys will start mid-November.
Here is Kolkata Police’s Facebook post:
(Also read: Me Too: The hashtag that’s uniting survivors of sexual assault on social media)
Are the authorities of other Indian cities listening?