They get to know #MeToo movement and its impact on media

Around 30 students from foreign universities who sailed into Kochi on Thursday as part of their study programme Semester at Sea partook in discussions on the #MeToo movement and its influence on Indian media. Another group of students visited the Integrated Startup Complex at Kalamassery.

Pursuing a variety of speciality courses, they were part of a group of around 1,000 students and professors from 200 universities who arrived in Kochi on board luxury vessel World Odyssey. Semester at Seas is a multi-country study abroad programme of one semester on a ship that is open to students of all majors, emphasising global comparative study.

The discussion on #MeToo movement was organised by Centre for Public Policy and Research (CPPR), a city-based think tank. The visiting students interacted with gender activists and journalists during the meet.

Leadership trainer and entrepreneur Anisha Cherian highlighted the victim-shaming culture in patriarchal societies, using recent examples from India. Citing WHO statistics, she said two-thirds of women had faced some form of sexual harassment. Survivors are mostly reluctant to report crimes like rape, with even sections of the media blaming the survivor than the perpetrator.

Surya Joseph, member of Raising Our Voices Foundation, Kochi, spoke about how the #MeToo movement began globally and created a stir in India. The aim was to prevail on society to empathise with victims of various forms of sexual harassment and also to empower them. Indian courts have been shifting paradigms to create a more gender-balanced society. Women, especially in the unorganised sector and in villages, still are vulnerable to exploitation. Men too must become part of the movement, she said.

As part of the 100+days voyage, which started from San Diego on January 5, the students visited Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Myanmar before reaching Kochi. Having explored different countries, they will earn academic credits from Colorado State University. The initiative catalyses an experiential, comparative, and global education.

Having disembarked in Kochi, they will travel to various parts of India in groups. They will return to the ship here March 5 for their journey to the next country.

Another group of 35 students visited the Integrated Startup Complex of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) here on Thursday. Officials of KSUM made a presentation on the entrepreneurial environment in Kochi and the operations of the complex. They also interacted with entrepreneurs.

*This news story can be also read at The Hindu’s website.