Articles like the one quoted below enrage me.
So much so that I had to rant about it. (What else is a blog for but to prevent you from screaming into the faces of your long-suffering friends?)
My apologies however, to contributing to the general din. (And not particularly well either. I really should stop reading about it but it’s frankly compulsive)
On why the writer seems to have it in for the journo (or survivor, as you like it)
“Then what is your problem? Why are you questioning the victim’s account? – It is complex. I believe what is going on is not fair. It is not retaliation against Tejpal alone – I’d be willing to accept the victim’s claim of rape if Tejpal alone were the target. This is currently harming the interests and reputations of people beyond Tarun Tejpal who have not done the victim harm and are a wrong she has done on them with her actions. I won’t support that for the same reason I won’t support anything I see as unfair.”
“If media succeeds in destroying a man completely – which is where they seem headed at the moment – on the mere word of a victim, before the courts can even get at the case, imagine the implications of hiring a woman in your office? Imagine the implications of apologizing to a woman for sexual misconduct? Imagine the sheer nightmare of protecting a star or controversial figure from accusations? Also, what is the responsibility of a place of work to the man? Is it fair to ask men to not discriminate against women and to hire them if you cannot guarantee that their side will at least be heard if there are any allegations of improper behaviour?”
“So no, I don’t hate the victim. I actually admire her cunning in planning this so meticulously and then pulling it off. And when I say cunning, it is with complete respect. I would LIKE to be cunning like that if my own interest were wronged.”
Being a poor writer, unable to articulate my rage very well, I can only say that all his saner points, questioning the biased media (which are very just) are completely undermined by the dismissive flavour and very typical questioning of the victim’s ‘motives’ in coming forward.
Watching this unfold, I realise that were I ever in a similar position I would probably never come forward because I am 100% conditioned to avoid making a ‘scene’. (And what a ‘scene’ this is). I don’t believe (or I don’t know) if I would be strong enough to break this conditioning.
Reading pieces like the one above scare me. Reading people praise his views as ‘sane’ precisely because it goes against the grain (and this makes it appealing) scare me even more, because some of his views (as expressed in his piece) exactly enforce this conditioning.
Enforces it and yet claims to be raising questions as a good journalist. Claims to be a ‘contrarian’ voice critiquing the media handling of this, but that voice is also now saying everything that is traditionally said to undermine reports of sexual assault / rape. So much for contrarian.
There are also the troubling hints littered across the article (and some earlier ones) that there is some acceptable level of sexual assault: (That the assault wasn’t serious enough to justify this outrage thus logically there must be another motive – This is the general tone as I see it.)
“Aare why create a hoo-hah? Let Uncle say sorry na?
Bus, no need for fuss.
Why are you being so difficult? How will you get a job now?”
It would be much easier to accept Uncle’s sorry and just be done with it. (It’s what I would have done being the shameful coward that I am)
Then Uncle can find someone else to assault. This is for our own good of course, because how else will women get hired if we keep kicking up dust storms and worse, if the media picks it up and chooses to go wild?
Should someone eventually complain about Uncle, it is then:
“Aare! You’ll hurt innocent people around him. Don’t be like that.
You must be after something. You have another motive.
You must want ‘Vengeance’ “
I can’t understand how the writer can’t see this is exactly the opposite of contrarian. He opens this piece by demurring about how he used to give the victim the benefit of the doubt, claims to rail against trial by media. Then subsequently goes on to represent her as ‘cunning’ and as having motives.
“I began blogging because it was an outrageous expose about Tehelka – an organization that has a strong reputation for human rights and investigative journalism. I believed that the victim was very smart and doing the right thing in demanding a sexual harassment committee (something I still believe, though I now think it is a relief that got derailed). From that point to now, is a long fall and a disturbing one for someone who usually consistently gives women the benefit of doubt.”
That Uncle’s ludicrously false sorries and contradictory statements are a large part of the reason people and the media have picked this up so passionately, the writer of that piece seems to gloss over (at least in this article).
It’s a shame that in legitimately taking up arms against the bias and opinionated media reporting (which are undisputable), he also then resorts to a spot of victim bashing.
So much for ‘sanity’.
Additionally the hypocrisy and tone of smug self-satisfaction all over this piece fucking galls me.
Watching and reading things like this on the sidelines would put any woman off from reporting anything.
As A4 puts it rather succinctly: “The only voice that is vaguely sane right now is the journo when she writes her own words.”
“Finally, an array of men of privilege have expressed sorrow that Tehelka, the institution, has suffered in this crisis. I remind them that this crisis was caused by the abusive violence of the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, and not by an employee who chose to speak out.”