Author-columnist Shobhaa De has said that she feels sorry for people who do not believe sexual harassment survivors, asserting that a #MeToo movement is “inevitable” for every field, even outside showbiz.
“I feel sorry for those who do not believe sexual harassment survivors, because there’s soon going to be no place for them to hide,” said De on the sidelines of the third edition of Himalayan Echoes: Kumaon Festival of Literature and Arts.
“The truth remains the truth... Whether you believe her or not is reflection of who you are; it’s not any indictment about her. It’s shame if they continue to be in denial, because that’s exactly what I think it is,” asserted the Seventy...And To Hell With It author.
On the anonymous naming and shaming of the alleged sexual predators on social media, she said that it may “seem exaggerated and unfair”, adding that “maybe it probably is”.
“Social media encourages anonymity, you can hide behind it, but also sometimes it gives courage. So if someone feels strongly about something and has felt helpless all this while, it will give a voice to it,” she added.
De maintained that she does not have a personal story to share on #MeToo, but that, she asserted, doesn’t take away the empathy she has for every single victim of harassment — boy, girl, man, woman and child.
“I am not a victim. I’m saying that not with relief, because safety is something not to be taken for granted, and I have always taken mine for granted,” she said.
“[It] might be that I’ve been spared, because from a young age, I’ve been a no-nonsense kind of a person but even then you can be oppressed, because you can be overpowered,” the widely-read author said.
Do she think a #MeToo is possible in the literary world?
“It’s inevitable. It’s gonna happen in every single field, it’s gonna happen in sports, politics, art, literature. Because it’s not something restricted to showbiz,” she said.
De participated in a “No Filter” session and was in conversation with author Jahnavi Prasada, the director of the annual literary event.
“There are no saints in Hollywood and there are none in Bollywood either. They say we are actors not activists. It’s not about being an activist, it’s about standing up for a colleague and damning what’s wrong,” said during the session.
Himalayan Echoes will conclude on Sunday.