The #DALITWOMENFIGHT association has issued a statement across social media channels concerning the #MeToo India movement. They have stated how they are strongly standing in solidarity with all sexual violence survivors.
The “Me” in #MeToo India
The community, in the statement, extended support to survivors and condemned anti-survivor statements that people, across communities, are making. They also called out the involvement of those who are choosing to remain silent at this time.
The women raised questions about their inclusion in the movement. Wondering about the “me” in #MeToo India, the women wrote they have not been able to locate and identify themselves in this current framework. “A caste-stratified society has for long denuded our personhood and often considered our lives as mere data or a story,” the statement read.
These women expressed their pain by writing how they still remain unnamed and their struggles continue to go unnoticed.
As Dalit women, we have for long resisted our perpetrators, which include dominant caste men, mixed caste men, men from our own castes and dominant caste women.
They point out that perpetrators named so far primarily belong to dominant caste backgrounds and that caste power has fueled their institutional positions. This crucial understanding, the statement reads, is significant in all acts of resistance against structural oppression.
To those that may reprimand us for speaking of gender justice before the battle against caste is won, we say that structural violence cannot be separated; neither for analysis nor for action.
The women called for the dismantling of caste powers, stating that one’s way to liberation will only come when caste patriarchy comes to an end. These women also believe that everyone collectively needs to untangle caste and patriarchy intersections. Dalit women, they believe, will only get meaningful justice when these caste structures are abolished.
“Dismantling institutions that reek of patriarchy and caste is a long haul for anti-caste feminism and all women – from the margins to the center, from the poorest to the most empowered. We all will get to live in a better world if that’s done,” the statement concluded.
Here is our statement pic.twitter.com/VY3Et5HWp1
— DALIT WOMEN FIGHT! (@dalitwomenfight) October 10, 2018
It’s important to have a conversation about marginalized women, too, who are unable to come out and share their harrowing experiences. With the #MeToo wave, it’s even more necessary to reach out and listen to these suppressed voices. Everyone must also understand that India’s #MeToo movement is gender-neutral. The impact has to be made while sending across a message that both men and women survivors are a part and will be heard.