Online outrage not enough, justice is giving men accused in #MeToo movement their day in court

Some factors niggle in this ongoing #MeToo saga. The accused are not being given a chance to put anything in context, and their reputations are being shredded with no qualms, thereby making a pastiche of fairness. Any woman saying anything is being construed as the gospel truth, and one has to ask whether justice is being served when all of this is supposedly based on "facts", except who knows what the facts are?

Perhaps adding another dimension to this melee are the hugely righteous managements dumping these accused with such lofty idealism that if it wasn’t all so tragic, it would have been pure comedy. If a man in your office was crass, crude, common or "hitting on the girls" over the long term you would know. So stop with the piety-soaked press releases from human resources.

A protester raises a placard reading "#MeToo" during a rally against sexual harassment . Reuters

A protester raises a placard reading "#MeToo" during a rally against sexual harassment . Reuters

Far be it for anyone to judge the accuracy of the accusations, but some of us are concerned that with this finger-pointing, we are kind of diluting and trivialising the rape, brutal assault and violence that women, girls and even babies face by somehow lumping everything together.

And though there is no gainsaying that the sense of outrage has no expiry date, these women, who have now found the courage to stand up and say "j'accuse" must take their cases to the logical end, which is to give the accused their day in court.

The hits on the media are only the beginning. If the heat stays on high, there will be more exposés in the corporate world, in the bureaucracy where rank counts, in advertising as well as the political firmament. In fact, no discipline is exempt, not even religion and the forces.

While one can hope that this cleansing of the national soul will generate a greater respect for women in the workplace, there are some sad sacrifices. First is the death of humour, with everyone now deeply riveted in political correctness. Second, the pleasant flirtation between intelligent men and women working together has been brought to a slithering halt by a new self-consciousness. Even healthy banter between the sexes, once considered asexual and fun between male and female colleagues, adding spice and vigour to team spirit, is now on life support. Third is the monkey on everyone's back that every sidetracking in a career, a missed promotion, or a failed upgrade, will now have nothing to do with merit or the lack of it but will be linked to some tawdry remark.

There are good days and bad days in an office. Any office. If everyone is going to be walking on eggshells, what's the price of the omelette?

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Network 18, of which Firstpost is a part, has received complaints of sexual harassment as well. The complaints which are within the purview of the workplace have been forwarded to our PoSH committee for appropriate action.


Updated Date: Oct 12, 2018 15:09 PM

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