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Don't misuse #MeToo, men also face sexual harassment, says MP

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Sharjah
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on November 4, 2018 | Last updated on November 4, 2018 at 08.31 am
Kanimozhi during a felicitation organised by the Indian community at the ongoing Sharjah International Book Fair on Friday.

(Neeraj Murali/KT)

Kanimozhi said that society must stop creating rifts based on gender and caste.

#MeToo campaign must not be used to levelled false allegations against innocents, said a top Indian poet-turned politician.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the 37th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), M. Kanimozhi, a female member of Indian parliament (MP), said the ongoing global movement against sexual harassment, that recently gained traction in India, is also relevant to men who have suffered harassment and assault from the hands of women.

One of the leading female politicians from South India, Kanimozhi speaks on pan-Tamil issues and is an ardent advocate of social and gender equality. She has taken up several schemes to support the needs of differently abled and transgender people.

"I welcome #MeToo. It will eventually create a safe environment for working women all over the world. But, the movement is also relevant to men, as several men have also suffered injustices from women."

She added: "I will not say that every woman who is speaking about the issue is being given a space of safety and understanding. When there is a sexual harassment, it has always been a habit of society to question the woman. This is what is happening with the MeToo movement as well."

However, she added: "At the same time, I do not deny the fact that people are capable of misusing the platform they've been provided. But it is an important movement, especially when it comes to providing safety for victims of sexual harassment."

Kanimozhi, daughter of Karunanidhi, the late former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, represents Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) of Indian parliament.

Karunanidhi served as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for almost two decades. He passed away on August 8 this year.

This is Kanimozhi's first visit to the Sharjah Book Fair. "I am very happy that Tamil has been given such prominence at the international book fair," she said.

Often seen as her father's literary heir, Kanimozhi functions as the chief of the DMK's wing for art, literature and rationalism. Though she has not released any literary works in recent times, she has done several translation works in English, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. Lamenting her lack of motivation, she said: "I've not been writing on anything due to pure laziness."

Stop creating rifts

Addressing a gathering at the book fair, Kanimozhi said that society must stop creating rifts based on gender and caste.

She said: "India provides equal opportunities to all people. But several social evils such as ill-treatment of women and casteism still exist."

The Indian MP added: "Tolerance also means embracing the differences."

Kanimozhi also believes that the rural workforce will play a huge role in reaching India's sustainability goals. "We need to focus on our farmers and boost the agriculture sector. This, in turn, will help us achieve our sustainability goals." 

She revealed to Khaleej Times her plan to relaunch 'Kalaignar 85', a job fair she started in 2008 across rural Tamil Nadu, that facilitated employment opportunities for young people in towns, smaller cities, and villages.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88


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