There’s no doubt you’ve heard of it: the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have become national and international news in two short years. While #MeToo encouraged victims to speak up about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault to demonstrate prevalence, the Time’s Up movement took action against what had been shown to be an epidemic of sex-based crime.
One key thing to note here, is that while both movements have affected many, both were predominantly American enterprises. In fact, Time’s Up was started by Hollywood celebrities, which begs the question – what is Bollywood, and the rest of India, doing about the same problem?
It’s undeniable that Indian, and in general, Asian, culture has a conservative approach to women’s sexuality, and this can and has bled into their mentality regarding sexual assault. The fear of the social stigma that may come with allegations has lead to devastating consequences for women.
A 2006 National Crime Records Bureau report estimated that unreported rape crimes made up 71% of all rape crimes in India, as opposed to the international UN estimate of 11%. This is in addition to the fact that marital rape is not yet considered illegal in India.
Personally, that’s quite unacceptable. High unreported rape would indicate a prevalence of those who would persecute a known survivor of these crimes, rather than help. As for marital rape – Time’s Up is engraining in us that no means no, no matter your relation, your clothing, or the circumstances.
These dire facts point to only one fact: revolution is coming for this country. As more and more women, including some in Bollywood, continue to speak honestly about their experiences, we should expect to see this matter be taken seriously, worldwide, in our lifetimes.