Unpacking sexual harassment of women in the context of the #MeToo and the Pinjra Tod campaigns: feminist understandings
Sexual harassment is a subjective phenomenon and is pervasive in nature. This paper maps linkages between two contemporary campaigns: #MeToo and Pinjra Tod. Several women are sharing their experiences of sexual harassment on social media using the hashtag #MeToo. Young women students mobilized the Pinjra Tod campaign challenging the sexism of educational institutions towards them, demanding gender just mechanisms, and the constitution of an elected Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) within the university to fight sexual harassment. However, even when redressal mechanisms are in place, instead of going to the ICC, young women are sharing stories and building solidarity through social media. Similarly, while young women students are underlining the issue of lack of awareness, protectionist approaches of the university, they are also demanding that the ICC be autonomous and elected. This article thinks critically about both the campaigns to complicate the standard narrative. Among other, it raises the following questions: What are the conundrums and contradictions that mark these campaigns? Is there a need to reframe the ‘due process’ debate or does due process structurally disbelief the complainant, inhibiting women to even activate the process? Or are women coming out anonymously on social media since as the institutional process fails to assure anonymity to the complainant? Can there be an independent mechanism where women can come forward freely without any hesitation to file complaints?