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Tamil actor Marimuthu justifies sexual abuse
The '#MeToo' movement has taken many prized scalps so far in India. One of the first was poet –lyricist, Vairamuthu. It was singer Chinmayi Sripada who came out with allegations against him. Even as Vairamuthu claims that there is no truth in them, actor Marimuthu, who was noticed in his role of a father caught between his love for his daughter and his caste identity, a role he played to perfection, in the Tamil movie, Pariyerum Perumal, has shockingly justified the poet's behaviour in an interview.

According to Marimuthu, there was nothing wrong with what Vairamuthu is alleged to have done.  He claims it is perfectly normal for a man to proposition a woman and that it is just his 'hormones'.  He also says that the incident will not dent Vairamuthu's reputation in the least. Marimuthu's comments reflect the sense of male entitlement that pervades our society and considers women as fair game to be pursued and hunted at will. If, as Marimuthu says, it is a man's right to pursue the women of his choice, then is it alright for Vairamuthu to proposition even Marimuthu's own wife or daughter, if they capture his fancy?  Would Marimuthu be willing to extend the same benevolent attitude towards the poet in such a case?  Very doubtful, unless of course, he is a follower of Osho, which seems unlikely.

More than Vairamuthu's actions, it is the words of people like Marimuthu that do more harm to society. They condone such actions and convey the idea that they are not wrong or unacceptable.  Naturally, many men would be happy to subscribe to this idea, which means that the toxic culture of patriarchy continues to thrive and blight the lives of countless women who must endure the constant assault of men on their bodies and minds at home and work, accepting it as some divine right that men have been bestowed.

It is no secret that men in powerful positions have always exploited women who work under them. Most women put up with it out of fear and the feeling that the world would not believe them if they spoke up against their tormentors. It is only when they reach a position of power themselves that they feel emboldened enough to reveal what they suffered long ago. Such women need our whole-hearted support and encouragement. Men like Vairamuthu and M. J. Akbar must be outed and their crimes brought to light. No man can envisage the trauma that girls and women undergo when they face sexual abuse, whether it's rape or just a grope. It's a violation of the self and it can scar a person forever. So it's most reprehensible that Marimuthu chooses to dismiss it casually as nothing more than a dog getting hit by a vehicle.  Should one call it lack of imagination, insensitivity, or plain stupidity?  Or even worse, complicity, for instance. 

Marimuthu's comments also seem to suggest that women in the public eye – like actors, singers, etc. - will face such things and that they should take it in their stride.  In other words, it's an occupational hazard. What he leaves unsaid is that women should lock themselves up in their homes if they want to remain safe and unmolested. But what he fails to realise is that even home is not a safe place anymore. Patriarchal attitudes are deeply ingrained in our society and culture and change must begin within the home, with fathers and mothers teaching their sons to respect and care for women and treat them as their equals.  Perhaps Marimuthu's parents failed him in this respect, but that is no reason why he should fail his children and theirs. The only way to redeem his image in the eyes of the world now is to tender a heartfelt apology to Chinmayi and all women for his disgusting remarks.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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