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Male Harassment Vs. Female Harassment: When Did This Turn Into A Battle?


Living in a society with people of different mindsets, creates different perspectives, different actions, and reactions. Now let’s understand one of such an issue that was initiated to bring men and women together at one platform, but with time the interpretation of the very same thing has created a large barrier between the two genders.

 “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals” 

The goal to bring gender equality hasn’t started recently rather it dates back in history. The concept of gender equality started revolving around women. History has shown women were harassed in every step, emotionally, financially, sexually, etc. Seeing the vulnerability of women, there was a need for a voice to give them courage and change their lives. Gradually with time, women started coming forward, for themselves and for other women too. All the crimes were always targeted against women, rape, assault, kidnapping, dowry death, and the list goes on. So with time when the laws were formed, they focused on the safety and equality of women in society. Even after tremendous efforts, we are still failing in keeping a safe place for women. It’s not only about safety; the effort is still on to create respect for women in society. Women are harassed in the workplace, they do not get the jobs they deserve, and their caliber to do something is always questioned. Society has always defined a woman’s life to surround around her family. But gradually with time things are changing, mindsets are changing but still, there is a lot to achieve now.

So “empowerment” of women, was misinterpreted. The society didn’t understand that gender equality includes both the gender. When everything is in favor of one person, somewhere it’s unfair of the other. Let’s understand the definition of harassment, “Harassment entails intentionally targeting someone else with behavior that is meant to alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize them”. So the meaning of harassment is not gender-specific, but with due time many of us have taken it by default that only women can be harassed and not men. Well, that thought can never bring in gender equality.

The definition of gender equality, Gender equality is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations, and needs equally, regardless of gender. So nowhere there is a mention that one or the other gender has to be neglected. A society can only function properly when all the genders are brought in together as a team; we just have to understand that, if we are supporting a gender we should not demean the others.

Unfortunately with the advancing laws, a very unpleasant issue has come forward. Many cases are being seen where the laws and rights given to the women are being misused, by giving in fake complaints of rape, assault, pet peeving, etc. And our laws fail when such complaints are accepted by the police, without investigation. In such a case till the time it is proved that nothing such happened we already take the accused as guilty, which destroys their lives. Such cases create distrust among the people towards the justice system. The dowry laws that were made to combat dowry deaths are now in some cases are being used to blackmail the in-laws and the husband. The main problem is, our society has decided that men cannot be harassed as no cases are coming up of men being harassed. But the truth is something else that needs to be understood. Men are also harassed, sexually, emotionally in many places. The problem is the patriarchal society and its norms that ‘men are strong’ and ‘no one can harass them’,’ they cannot be dominated nor can they be taken advantage of’. And the sad part is if a man comes forward and expresses his harassment, society rather than supporting him, makes him feel less of himself. The question is, if we can together support a woman being harassed then why cannot we do the same for a man or any other gender?

When all of this started happening, both the genders started pointing fingers at each other. Gender equality never meant competing with the opposite gender. Let’s take an example from the chaos of “we hate feminism and a feminist”.

What is feminism?

Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal and social equality of the sexes” basically feminism aroused as an advocacy for the vulnerable status of women. Women supporting a woman, or group of women are termed, feminists. But suddenly many people started saying “feminism is bad”, “feminists are fake” or “do not bring your feminism everywhere”. Well, people saying this; do not actually understand the meaning of feminism. Let’s understand there are pros and cons of every possible thing. Feminism is a broad term and its very meaning is to support women, but nowhere feminism supports demeaning other genders. Feminism mainly focuses on breaking the patriarchal norms that are troubling all genders. Yes, the sad part is some people use the word feminism while harassing the opposite gender, which is never acceptable, and which is creating a lot of misunderstanding. The thing is, we need to filter all the things that fail to bring in gender equality rather than saying “we do not support feminism”. People generally come up, with a point that, why are women having all the rights? The answer is because it was the need of the situation, similarly now there are laws that also punish women when they falsely accuse someone.

The point is in our understanding, whoever may be the victim or accused, HEAR BOTH THE SIDES (Audi Alteram Partem) before concluding anything.

So to conclude everything, there should not be any “vs.” when we speak about harassment or any gender-related issue. As you can see in this blog, there is no mention of any kind of statistics, because numbers don’t matter, when you are being harassed, even if you are the one in million who is being sexually or mentally harassed, you deserve justice irrespective of your position or gender. There should not be a fight rather a solution against the culprit, for getting proper justice and making each and every individual safe.
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Author: Prajakta Panda

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