The other side of #MeToo ...

The Citizen (KZN) - - WORLD - New York

– From Hol­ly­wood to Bol­ly­wood, the #MeToo move­ment is mak­ing its mark around the globe since ris­ing a year ago – with com­pa­nies, politi­cians and char­i­ties caught up in the bat­tle against sex­ual ha­rass­ment of women.

With the be­hav­iour of politi­cians likely to take cen­tre stage in pend­ing US elec­tions, #MeToo sup­port­ers have de­clared the move­ment a sweep­ing trans­for­ma­tion per­ma­nently al­ter­ing the treat­ment of women – though some sug­gest it has gone too far.

The move­ment is newly tak­ing hold in In­dia, where one Bol­ly­wood ac­tress’ com­plaint of sex­ual mis­con­duct sparked an out­pour­ing of sup­port.

Over the past week, women have flooded so­cial me­dia with their ex­pe­ri­ences of ha­rass­ment and sex­ual vi­o­lence, with se­nior fig­ures in en­ter­tain­ment and the me­dia and a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter un­der scru­tiny.

Else­where, a Chi­nese uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor was fired af­ter al­le­ga­tions of ha­rass­ment and, in such con­ser­va­tive so­ci­eties as In­done­sia and Pak­istan, women have been speak­ing out about sex­ual vi­o­lence.

“We are in a new era,” said Ash­ley Judd, one of the ac­tresses whose ac­cu­sa­tions against Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein sparked the surge of voices us­ing the hash­tag #MeToo a year ago.

The rev­e­la­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct that started in Hol­ly­wood spread across work­places, gov­ern­ments and cam­puses, spawn­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions and top­pling hun­dreds of high-pro­file men from po­si­tions of power around the world.

But while #MeToo has opened up dis­cus­sions that may have long been kept un­der wraps or left un­ad­dressed, some have warned it may be go­ing too far.

The move­ment lacks nu­ance, some say, not­ing not all men ac­cused of mis­con­duct need to be treated with the same broad brush as that used in the case of We­in­stein, who stands ac­cused of sex­ual as­sault charges he de­nies.

Oth­ers cau­tion that #MeToo will lead to women be­ing locked out of busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties by men wary of be­ing falsely ac­cused of mis­con­duct.

Ac­tress Cather­ine Deneuve fa­mously de­nounced #MeToo as pu­ri­tanism gone too far, and US First Lady Me­la­nia Trump this week said she sup­ported women speak­ing out, but they need to have hard ev­i­dence to back their claims.

Her com­ments fol­lowed the re­cent bruis­ing bat­tle over US Supreme Court Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh, whose con­fir­ma­tion pro­ceed­ings ex­ploded when a Cal­i­for­nia pro­fes­sor claimed he sex­u­ally as­saulted her in 1982.

Ka­vanaugh heat­edly de­nied the al­le­ga­tions, his sup­port­ers ar­gued the pro­fes­sor had no ev­i­dence and the Se­nate ap­proved his ap­point­ment, mark­ing a vic­tory for Trump and lock­ing in a con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity on the na­tion’s high­est court. –

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