GUEST POST BY ‘REPORT RESPONSIBLY’
To all editors, journalists, bloggers, users of social media, and the public:
Some websites and blogs are posting the Tehelka journalist’s complaint to the magazine’s management or reproducing parts of it, perhaps with intent to expose a grave act of sexual assault by a man occupying a powerful position. However, in doing so, they are violating basic ethical and legal injunctions on the way cases of sexual assault must be reported.
The journalist’s complaint to her company is a private document and not a public one. While private documents can be leaked in the ‘public interest’, this principle is applicable to the emails of Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury sent to Tehelka staffers, not to the journalist’s emailed complaint. In cases of sexual assault, it is a well established principle that the media can name the perpetrator, but not the victim. The identity and privacy of a victim must be protected at all costs.We are distressed that many people are circulating the journalist’s emails, and other journalists, bloggers and users of social media are publishing it in parts or whole.
Continue reading Protect the Privacy of the Tehelka Journalist: Report Responsibly
Listen. Can you hear it? That low growl on the horizon, coming closer, growing louder? It’s the dam bursting its bounds. It’s the quiet shriek of convivial silence being ripped apart.
The silence around the normalizing of a range of behaviour from the apparently casual to the outrightly violent. The laughing sexual innuendo; the misogynist jokes; the well-known ‘displaced squeeze’ of the upper arm, the shoulders; the repeated, relentless expression of romantic or sexual interest despite clear NO’s; the grabbing of the breast, the unwanted kiss, the out-of-town work trip ending in physical assault, presented as flattering interest; and through it all, the clear invocation of the power relationship.
You look great, Sir, retirement suits you, says a younger female colleague to a Professor visiting his former institution. Really, he smirks. Two other people told me this, and they are both women. What do you think it means? She smiles uncomfortably and hurries out of the office of the male head of the institution in whose presence this comment is made.
Continue reading Sexualized workplaces, predatory men and the rage of women
Now let me confess, it is high-time in life that I got an award — I am 46, nearly. It isn’t really a question of whether I desire it or not. If you are in the business of reading and writing in Kerala then you MUST receive some award by mid-career — it’s a bit like experiencing nausea and tiredness in early pregnancy. You MUST have it, it is the surest sign of being pregnant, and sometimes to enjoy people’s kindness towards a pregnant woman, you need to get vomiting soonest possible. You can’t get into a conversation about pregnancy with other women without being able to recount your experience of being nauseous and tired. Continue reading Ka Tvam Baale? Kaanchana Maatha! Or, the University of Calicut experiments with the Grotesque!
WHY DO YOU CREATE STRONG WOMEN CHARACTERS?
A question Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) gets asked every single time by reporter after reporter (a question that Indian reporters may be spared from ever having to ask any man – or anyone – in TV or cinema here?)
This video gives you Whedon’s answer:
Guest post by PRONOY RAI
The serene, picturesque campus of the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati has been witnessing some very noteworthy events in the recent past. According to reports in the popular media, a professor at the institute’s biotechnology department was accused of sending obscene text messages to his PhD student over her phone. Though the professor pleaded innocence, claiming that messages were sent from his sim card that was stolen, the local police found this hard to believe. The professor has also been accused of harassing the student during other instances on campus. Upon receiving the advice of the ‘Working Women’s Committee’ of the institute, the professor was recently suspended. This narrative constructs for us a simple, fair story of a just state-society system. A person breaks the law, and he is disciplined, as one would expect in a fair democratic society. If only that was the case.
The suspension of the professor was not immediately followed by the submission of the report, let alone the filing of complaint at the institute and with the local police. On August 13, Amingaon police in Assam arrested the professor for sending obscene text messages to a student. The arrest happened because the student had to file a FIR in order to request a telecom company to reveal the identity of the owner of the phone, from where the obscene messages being sent to her, were emanating. The delay in the inaction of the institute administration is unjustified, but perhaps not very inexplicable. Continue reading Storm in a Calm IIT Campus Over a Sexual Harassment Case: Pronoy Rai
Guest Post by AMRITA NANDY
I have recently come to the US for a year. My “settling down” has happened under the viral shadows of the Rose Chasm debates. (See HERE and HERE)
Personally, the online exchanges struck a chord for me because I too, like Rose, am a student who is new in a foreign country and to its culture, trying to feel at home, adjust, mingle, accommodate and, most of all, make sense of some new experiences.
Before you point out that this juxtaposition of Rose’s context with mine is too simplistic and reductive, allow me to say “of course”.
Of course! A comparison, contrast or parallel of our respective experiences is not where I am headed to.
This is merely my account of being an outsider in America. More precisely, this is my attempt to engage with the articulation of fear in its many avatars and contexts.
Continue reading The Many Avatars of Fear: Amrita Nandy