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Malarăsculat. @caselchris1
, 22 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
As a Dalit woman, the last few days of India’s #MeToo have been both triggering and confusing. I’ve tried to follow it as much as I can and the more I do, I realise how important it is to have a conversation on value.
How are we (as women/non-men) valued in relationships, at work, inside our homes, and in our communities? And who are the ones determining this value? #MeToo
To me, that’s what #MeToo is all about - it ultimately boils down to whether women/non-men are treated as people who have feelings, a body, and a spirit. The fact that so many women, albeit from non-Dalit backgrounds, are outing men for their horrific behaviors +
+ shows how common it is for the powerful to use, exploit, and hurt, and have no remorse whatsoever, till the time their career/reputation gets threatened.
Having been at the receiving end of sexual abuse and harassment for so long now, with no access to justice whatsoever in sight, #Dalitwomen can understand the rage and the anger that comes with being undervalued.
We as #Dalitwomen can relate to the exasperation that comes with knowing how due process fails, especially when it comes to men of power. #MeToo is important, and men had it coming. #Dalitwomenfight
But can we also talk about how ALL women have value? Can we talk about how easy it has been for savarna feminists to discount the efforts of Dalit women (Raya’s LoSHA that essentially sparked off #MeTooIndia) as witch hunts?
Can we recognize the absolute absence of Dalit women’s voices in this phase of #MeTooIndia? And ask ourselves why?
Not all women can provide ‘screenshots’ and not all survivors feel safe enough to come out.
Marginalized women don’t come with privileges that affords them to say, “Fuck it, this is what happened to me” without having to worry about their/their family’s safety. They don’t come with the same kind of social/monetary/political capital that UC women do.
There is also caste-based slut-shaming – which is, and feels, different from what UC women face when they share stories of sexual abuse. This is the same reason as to why Dalit women can’t reclaim the words slut/bitch or go on ‘slut walks’.
So can we please take a step back and stop calling Raya's LoSHA as a witch hunt, and be THANKFUL that a Dalit woman kicked-off something at a time when the UC guardians of Indian feminism preferred to go the due process way?
To say India is having its #MeToo moment now is simply an ERASURE of Dalit women’s voices.
Let’s also talk about power. If I’m right, most of the men that have been named in this #MeToo are savarna, yes? And yet, almost no one has ascribed their wrongdoings to their caste privilege. Being upper caste affords power; and power affords the impunity to get away with abuse.
Dalit men don’t have caste power, yet their caste identities (when calling out abuse) are always specified – regardless of whether they’re queer or straight – as though it is their caste identity that is the cause of the wrongdoing +
+ Their entire communities are also shamed in the course of it. Why are savarna men, despite their caste power, exempt from this custom?
We must also talk about the selective outrage that is on display today. Quite simply, where is your outrage when #Dalitwomen scream for dignity and justice? Where is your anger when we are killed, raped and paraded naked? +
+ Where is your empathy? Can you not relate to a Dalit woman’s humanity? Can you not see us as human, as women? #Metoo #dalitwomenfight
If #MeToo becomes a tool in the hands of ALL WOMEN, not just journalists, it is most likely that several men in your lives will be called out for their abusive behavior. Women who work as domestic helps may call out your men. Will you say #MeToo and stand by them then?
Also, what are these whisper networks, and why aren’t Dalit women part of it? By women, you clearly mean only savarna, yes?
This camaraderie among savarna women is heartwarming though. Assuring each other of one’s support/presence is beautiful indeed. But if this is a selective effort that surfaces ONLY when savarna women are abused, doesn’t it speak of self-preservation more than anything else?
DW, both in and out of relationships, during dating and otherwise, with all kinds of men, are constantly undervalued. This is why feminist movements (#MeToo & beyond) have to be led by marginalized women. Else, we’d only succeed in helping women that are already privileged.
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