India’s #MeToo wave

From Bollywood actresses to women journalists, the Twitter is full of horrific realities of sexual harassment

deexa

Deexa Khanduri | October 8, 2018 | Delhi


#sexual harassment   #sexual abuse   #MeToo in India   #molest   #Tanushree Dutta   #women journalist   #women   #MeToo  
Illustration: Ashish Asthana
Illustration: Ashish Asthana

A year after the #MeToo movement took the Hollywood and the West by storm, skeletons have started tumbling out of India’s closets too. From Bollywood actresses to women journalists, the Twitter is full of horrific realities of sexual harassment. 

The massive outburst of women’s anger has even forced some of the accused/perpetrators to apologise. But the question that needs to be asked is why was the misconduct done at all? On one hand sceptics are questioning women for remaining silent for so long and not to blur the line between ‘flirting’ and a ‘sexual advance’. On the other hand the #MeToo movement in India is being hailed as an idea whose time has finally come.

Hence, I start by sharing my own ordeal. Nobody has sexually exploited me, but remarks against women journalists such as ‘bitch’ or ‘pimp’ are very common at the Delhi press club, which one has to learn to ignore.
 
In 2014, while I was covering the Congress election rally in Ajmer as a reporter with NWS Agency (ITV Network), I met the Congress beat journalist from India TV Sarvesh Shukla. He made an unsolicited sexual advance to me. Furious, I discussed the matter with my senior Md. Afsar and colleague Kapil Bhargava (both are working with ANI). They told me to take a stand against him and write to his HR department. I filed a complaint from my official mail id at that time. Many reporters expressed their unconditional support to me and appreciated my step. Vijailaxmi (Newsx) and Amresh Srivastava (UNI) told me that I have done the right thing. However, many advised me not to ruin his career and take back my complaint as such kind of behaviour is ‘normal’ in the media industry. What was more shocking to me was the response from my company’s HR department. They said that I should not have taken such step without informing them or taking them into confidence. The HR department of India TV was also rude in their behaviour. They kept on insisting that I might have misunderstood Shukla’s statement and assumed it to be “offensive”. 
 
I’m glad that I did not take a step back and made an issue of the incident. As a result, a few days later Shukla came to me and apologised for his behaviour.  
 
Another female journalist, Susmita Pakrasi, took to Facebook recently and expressed her outrage against Arup Ghosh, CEO of Network1 Media Consultancy. “I was approached by the boss of my organisation (Arup Ghosh) few months back. He started the conversation on messenger and initially asked me how I am doing. Soon after, he asked me to get connected on whatsapp. Our conversation started and very soon he asked me to address him by his name and not to add Sir with it. Although I found it a bit strange but thought it’s okay to address your seniors or boss by their first name in this industry. He asked me to meet him but I told him that I didn’t have time but will try to make it. Soon after he said he is interested in me. I was completely taken aback by this ... Especially by his guts to even say this to someone who is half his age! Having been a subject of stalking, I thought of taking a stand and gave it back then and there. I am sure he got a clear message that I am not interested.”
 
“Thankfully, he understood my point and never texted me back,” Pakrasi informs me. 
 
The incident happened a few months back and many have questioned Parkasi as it does not qualify for the #MeToo movement. “I stood up with my post for all the women who stand up for themselves. That’s how I connected it with #MeToo which many fail to understand,” Pakrasi says. 
 

Comments

 

Other News

When Jaitley asked me to guess his age...

Sometime in 1999, I took Arun Jaitley out for meal for the column, “Lunch with Business Standard”. As is his wont, he chose his own place for lunch. It was at the Chambers at the Taj Mansingh hotel, an exclusive domain of the high and the mighty Delhi. As we sat down for the meal

Thus ends the Chidamba-Run!

The arrest of Palaniappan Chidambaram, former union minister of home & finance, by the CBI, albeit after his much dramatic disappearance and reappearance, has brought an end to his long run from the arms of law. As a finance minister, being at the other end of the law, the former ministe

What Imran’s rant against RSS tells us about Modi’s Kashmir policy

An unintended consequence of the inversion of Article 370 and the division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories is the curious revival of Pakistan’s interest in Indian history and sociology. For the first time in decades, a Pakistan prime minister made the Rasht

On a Personal note with actor Neeraj Kabi

Neeraj Kabi, a critically acclaimed self-taught actor, theatre director, and acting teacher, has worked in Odiya, Hindi and international cinema, theatre, television and web series. In 2014 he was honoured with the best actor award at the 4th Sakhalin International Film Festival for his role in the fil

Talking to Trump, Modi hits out at Imran’s anti-India rhetoric

Prime minister Narendra Modi has told US president Donald Trump that Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan’s “incitement to anti-India violence” was not good for peace in south Asia. Modi and Trump had a telephonic conversation – their first since the Aug 5 move to chang

Paediatricians call for junking unhealthy food

As children are consuming more and more fast foods and sweetened beverages are becoming, leading to obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has come out with guidelines on such substances. The dietary guidelines under its nutrition chapter



Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter