#MeToo is not a crusade for women’s right; it’s gender agnostic: Tanushree Dutta

A few days ago, Tanushree came out of the shadows of oblivion and spoke with Etimes on her decade-old ordeal with the Bollywood industry. As the #MeToo movement gains pace, embroiling leading names from Bollywood, TV, stand-up to even corporates, Tanushree Dutta warns that it shouldn’t only be women’s crusade for their rights; it’s equally about men and children.

“There were 200 people on the sets and they kept watching when I was getting harassed. Nobody came forward when my car was getting attacked. If they didn’t come (to support) then, will they come forward after ten years in court to help me?” questions Tanushree.

The actor has now filed FIRs against her alleged harassers, even though she feels her road to justice would be a rather long one. “Even in court, it’s going to be me against the whole bunch of people. Then they will do this smear and fear campaign. We have a few who came in my support, but we are still outnumbered. Justice will not happen in this manner. It is important that we remember an eve teaser today can be a harasser tomorrow; a harasser today can become rapist tomorrow. Inaction emboldens them,” she says.

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“This is not about the justice of one case; this is about changing the whole culture of the society. If they are afraid of losing things, if they are held accountable, lose projects and jobs, then they will swear never to behave like this. Others who are watching will also learn a lesson,” she adds.


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In contrast to her last interview, her voice is infused with confidence. The burst of anger and disappointment has subsided, which has, of course, made her more articulate and expressive.

While more survivors are now speaking out against their perpetrators, the #MeToo campaign has also come under scanner for being a ‘trial by social media’, and ‘one-sided allegations without verifiable facts’.

“#MeToo in India is in the inceptive stage of a social initiative, and the media is helping to raise awareness so that something like this would never happen. You don’t win wars alone; nobody can win a war alone. If it actually spreads, then it’s a good sign for the society. It instills confidence in the society that you should never think you will ever get away with harassment by calling it innocuous banters,” she says.

At the same time, she counters concerns being raised on the movement, accusing it to be a ‘vicious revenge’ or even a ‘feminist’ campaign. “This is not a women’s rights movement. This is a human movement. Harassment and abuse are gender agnostic. It’s happening to women, children and men as well. It’s just that men have not come forward and spoken about it. Perhaps, someday they would. But the way society is functioning today, the stigma is even more if a man comes forward and speaks up. We need to change that. This movement is about changing perceptions,” she asserts.

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Is she happy with the support she has received? Not entirely “I’m still waiting for CINTAA to take action against Nana Patekar, Ganesh Acharya and other. I hope they take some action. Last time they asked me to file a fresh complaint as according to them the matter merits action if it’s less than three years old,” she claims.

“They need to change such laws. Every single film body or allied organisation must have an anti-harassment cell and special desks dedicated to the cause. Organisations like CINTAA solves a lot of issues and conflicts but harassment is such a big issue. It requires a dedicated cell so that matters are not buried beneath other issues,” she adds.

“Although at large Bollywood has still remained silent, there is a small segment which came forward. It’s very important. Psychologically it’s very uplifting but we need the support of our community. Otherwise, it emboldens them (harassers),” she says.

“People sometimes come forward not to support the person but the cause. So that’s again an ignorant way of responding to it. A movement is a movement because it has many people together. People come together only when they feel they will be heard,” she adds.

Nonetheless, Tanushree believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel; that, things will change eventually.