Over the years, Information and Communication Technology have immensely transfigured the world and our daily lives. Followed by this, various social media platforms and networking sites came into the picture; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat being some of the popular ones. Social Media alters the lives of people, affecting their lifestyle thereby causing uncertainty, which may lead to issues throughout their lives.
Previously, social media was used for the sole purpose of expanding business through digital marketing and advertising. However, with an increase in the use of social media, it has also helped to create awareness about various issues and to express opinions. There several campaigns that give people the courage and confidence to not only stand up for themselves but also for others.
One such campaign was the MeToo or ‘#MeToo’ movement. This is a movement for women who wish to take a stand against sexual harassment. This phrase was initially used on social media by the American activist and victim of sexual harassment, Tarana Burke.
Women from all walks of life face some kind of harassment at a certain point in their life. This may be at their workplace, school, or even at home. A large number of incidents went unacknowledged because they were never brought into light due to fear of consequences.
According to the criminal justice system, only 230 out of 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the police. That means approximately 3 out 4 incidents go unreported. The MeToo movement has led to a 14% increase in reporting sexual assaults. Although this does not mean that justice is being served.
The aim of this movement was to help women to take a stand for themselves and do not tolerate violence or abuse in any form. However, the MeToo movement is being misused by people for personal vengeance. There are a number of defamation cases where women have accused men of molestation of their personal vendetta.
This has been taken advantage of to the extent where it is difficult to filter the falsified cases from the legitimate ones. This movement was supposed to be for women’s empowerment and not for retribution. It is being used as a weapon for revenge by defamation. With #MeToo gaining prominence, men are afraid that they’ll be wrongly accused while at the same time women fear that their accusation will be overlooked.
People often put themselves in an authoritative position and pass judgments without understanding the context. Articles or posts on the internet are easily misunderstood. This happens because most people don’t know what happens behind closed doors, and yet they feel the need to express their thoughts to feel validated. There are two sides to every story, and one cannot form a conclusion by listening to only one side. And definitely not on the internet. There are legal authorities and provisions to pass off verdicts on controversial ideas.
The purpose is to give a voice to women, to provide social justice. The system is equal for all human beings irrespective of their gender, race, caste or religion. Once a woman has broken her silence and has taken a stand for herself, it is our duty to empower her through empathy and solidarity through strength in numbers by demonstrating that there are many more sexual harassment survivors. All it takes is one post, even a single tweet with a false allegation can ruin an innocent person’s life by labeling him as a rapist or a molester. Again, all it takes is one post, even a single tweet by the accused claiming to be innocent can ruin the victim’s life by labeling her as a liar or an attention seeker.
We are just people expressing rage on the internet based on a single side of a story that can be easily manipulated later. We have absolutely no idea what the people involved are going through. One extreme step due to pressure in the form of threats can ruin numerous lives. We are neither the Judge, the Jury, nor the Executioner to take executive decisions.
Hereby we come to the conclusion that social media has a positive side and a dark side. It depends on how we use it. All it takes is a click of a second to fall into the dark side which may have irreparable consequences.