Since October of last year, there’s been a consistent focus on highlighting sexual assault cases against women. The MeToo movement started as a way for people to find solace in others’ stories and showcase solidarity, but today it’s gained a worldwide recognition and has become a way to assert one’s fundamental rights and give a voice and platform for those ready to speak out. It’s also shown the unfathomable degree to which sexual violence is prevalent—something we’re all too aware of.
While the campaign has been going strong for almost a year, it actually has a much longer history. In 2006, Tarana Burke started the movement.
It was fuelled last year when Alyssa Millano asked her followers on Twitter to reply ‘Me too’ to her post if they had ever been victims of sexual assault. The response was immediate and loud. The outpour began, and while there were people in India coming out with their own stories, it hadn’t yet gone up to the same degree—until now.
Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta helped pull the trigger in India when she accused Nana Patekar, an actor, of harassment. Soon, people from different paths were contributing their voices to the cause as well. It’s easy to just say that many people in India are becoming more aware of the MeToo movement, and are becoming a vociferous part of it, but there’s a way to see it visually. As a part of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month, data from Google Trends has been used to create a visualisation of Google search interest in the term ‘MeToo.’ The Me Too Rising map showcases the trends of people searching for the movement every day—this is done keeping in mind the proportion of interest in ‘MeToo’ in relation to all other searches in that city. This week, searches in India shot up and it shows.
If you look at last year’s data, while there was awareness, it was definitely on a lower scale compared to other cities.
But after the recent flurry of accusations, more and more people are not only aware, but are also consciously trying to learn more about what the movement really means. And this spark in the hunt for information is a reflection of not only that, but also of the fact that people from every nook and cranny are getting involved—at the time of writing, all the ‘top searching’ cities were from India, and are relatively small cities: Cuttack, Bhanwreli, Sambalpur, Ujjain and Dewas.
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