What defines sexual harassment? Who decides where the line should be drawn? Who decides if a person passing a comment on a colleague is complimentary or just plain rude and/or perverted?
It seems prudent then, to leave each case to be decided on its own merits. There is a very thing line between innocuous flirting and sexual harassment. After all, “You look nice today” sounds innocent enough on paper but, packaged with other physical attributes exhibited by the accused, the exchange between the parties might not remain as innocent anymore.
But can the complainant always be trusted?
The “a sexually harassed women will never lie” trope died ages ago and should be done away with. Especially, as a feminist, it’s hard to digest how women are still seen as shy and meek and how manipulative acts are deemed well beyond our “fragile constitution”. It’s even more disgusting to read accounts of women falsely accusing men of sexual harassment as revenge.
It has happened before, it could happen again.
Now, to the case at hand. I understand the situation is slightly more complex, which makes passing premature judgements based on vacuous media trials that much dangerous.
The multiple accounts from various sources, certainly do stack the cards against the former CEO of TVF, Anurabh Kumar. But the fact is, none of the women who boldly came forward on social media have done so in real life. Only 2 FIRs have been reported to be registered with the Mumbai Police.
So many accounts of sexual harassment on the internet and only 2 out of the many took actual action? And all of this, after so much support was extended to the victims?
Of course, seeing that we live in India, where sexual harassment and molestation and rape are still considered as a “taint” on a woman’s dignity, it’s not that hard to come to terms with.
Yet, it is not as if all the allegers were anonymous writers hiding behind a pseudonym. Quite a few who recounted their own experiences, did so, from their personal accounts where their names and personal profile pictures were clearly visible. So why didn’t the women who were comfortable enough to extend support online come forward offline, in real life? Food for thought.
The accused, Anurabh Kumar, took to Twitter and Facebook and announced that he is stepping down as CEO of TVF, and stated that,
“A lot has happened in the last three months which has mentally and emotionally drained me. However, I have faith and confidence that eventually truth will prevail.”
What we should take away from this incident is that time and time again, whenever anything controversial occurs, we tend to pass judgements prematurely based on little to no evidence.
The prolonged debates on major news networks on the so called “morality” of the whole issue do not make matters any easier. To engage in such a reckless form of reporting which ultimately results in a widespread perception of guilt, and that too, before any verdict or judgement is passed by a Court of Law, can be severely damaging. Media trials can tear apart a person’s life, their career and, their family.
Which is not to claim that Anurabh Kumar, in this case, did not commit the acts he is accused of. He very well may have. But he is after all, innocent, until proven guilty.
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