Why saying “I believe Tanushree” is important?

Tanushree Dutta sat in that car keeping herself composed while the mob ravaged her car and tried to break her windshield. Her parents, who had just come to drive their daughter home, were also appalled at the mob violence around them.

Actual 2008 footage of how Tanushree Dutta was attacked when she walked out of Nana Patekar song | NewsMo

Actual 2008 footage of how Tanushree Dutta was attacked when she walked out of Nana Patekar song | #NewsMo

Posted by NewsMo on Sunday, September 30, 2018

Little did she know, 10 years down the line, she would be spearheading Bollywood’s #MeToo campaign, forcing the industry to talk about how it treats its women.

“ We are not going to have one until what happened 10 years ago is acknowledged, addressed and brought to justice,” she said.
The former Miss India contestant faced a silent media and Hindi film industry when she first reported the incident on the sets of Horn Ok Please in 2008.

Since then, she emigrated to the US for a better life away from the industry. When she returned to India for a holiday in July, an interviewer asked why the country was yet to have a #MeToo moment.

Little did she know her statement would open a Pandora’s box in an industry where nothing changed in the decade that she was gone.
The statement was a revelation in itself. But it wasn’t just her allegations. It took another journalist’s statement for A-listers to tweet out in favour of her.

“Some incidents that take place even a decade ago remain fresh in your memory,” wrote journalist Janice Sequeira in a thread of tweets. “What happened with Tanushree Dutta on the set of ‘Horn OK Please’ is one such incident – I was there.”

Suddenly the entire status quo was challenged. People were being called out for not supporting her. Male stars were being asked about the issue in press conferences. “Neither is my name Tanushree, nor Nana Patekar, so how can I answer your questions?” was the reply of superstar actor Amitabh Bachchan. Aamir Khan similarly dodged the question.

Patekar has denied the claims saying it was impossible for him to do such an act as a large number of people were present.

He has been backed by others also like Vivek Agnihotri also filing a legal notice against Tanushree Dutta. Other men in the industry have also come out to back him.

When men go ahead to back each other in acts as an act of solidarity, the narrative of the woman gets reduced to just a hysterical reaction. Women’s bodies become the tools with which men perform intimacy and solidarity with one another.

In this industry, sexual harassment and assault have been about establishing a power dynamic reducing the other into just an object they can manipulate and control stripping their agency. When they come out with their stories, it is them reclaiming their narrative, one they were stripped off at that moment.

While people act apprehensive about the claims of Tanushree Dutta, every time a woman comes forward with her story, it doesn’t take much to say we believe them.

What it does is makes them believe in their narrative and their version of what happened, as they live through their trauma again.