Empathy, by definition, means, ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.’ In a world of #MeToo, it is imperative first to put one into someone’s shoes. To understand the plight of a female during those ‘accidental touches’ in crowded areas, pinching her bottom during public transport, double entendre talk at the workplace, flashing one’s penis at her, masturbating in front of her, ogling at her, stalking and raping her.
Sexual harassment is the most widely talked about the issue today, owing to the booming social media. Such an influx of information tends to make the parents overprotective towards their daughter, raising them in a cocoon. And then one day, when reality stares right in their face, the issue is brushed inside the carpet, the girl is married off without breathing a word to anyone in proximity.
Heaven’s help, if the culprit turns out to be a family member, which happens in most such cases. Mum is the word. This ‘hushed’ experience multiplies faster than cancer, taking a toll on the girl’s relationship. So much so that she hates sexual intimacy and bears with it as a wife’s ‘duty’. Years pass by. The girl becomes a mother and creates a broader cocoon for her daughter, lest she suffers a similar fate. Alas, the cycle continues.
The act of naming and shaming sexual offenders can only take place when we replace the word ‘sympathy’ with ‘empathy’ for the victims of sexual harassment. The short film, ‘Empathy’ delivers its message through eloquent silences punctuated with a mother-daughter conversation that rambles rather than enlightens, and finally reaches its crescendo of a resolve: To face the real world.