Here is a case that was, at first, difficult to understand – because the person accused of attempting the sexual assault was someone who had seemed to be more likely to prevent than to attempt a sexual assault. But then how much did we know the person? We only knew the publication.
[Note: The email has been removed from the above link, and I have removed the link. I think sharing some quotes from the statements (if any) made by the survivor would have been the right thing to do, instead of sharing a private email which does encroach upon the assault survivors’ privacy.
The reason I shared the link was that the email did help (me) in understanding the crime, specially when the perpetrator was someone I (many others) looked upon as morally upright, and for a change it was someone who was not blaming the victim (the email conveyed that his accusations were worse) and was willing to ‘atone’. Now I feel, irrespective of the details of a crime, no matter how difficult to believe a crime is – a survivor’s story should be taken seriously without causing them further trauma and a thorough and immediate investigation should be carried out/demanded.]
It seems he admitted to ‘an awful misreading of the situation‘. What if the survivor had not reported? Would he have continued to ‘misread the situation’?
It also seems that it was seen as enough, by those who were supposed to take action (Shoma Chaudhury) that he was permitted to choose what he should do to “atone” for “…a bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation.”
Why was it thought that the one who allegedly committed a crime could choose what he should do to ‘atone’?
What action do you think should have been/should be taken?
Tejpal had on Wednesday announced his decision to step down as editor of Tehelka for six months following the journalist’s complaint to Chaudhury on November 18 alleging that while on duty she was sexually assaulted by Tejpal on two occasions on November 7 and 8 at the magazine’s annual ThinkFest.
Chaudhury also came under fire on Thursday for her handling of the situation. She had told a TV channel, “There was an incident which has been dealt with internally. An unconditional apology was extended by Tarun. The journalist concerned was satisfied with the action taken.” The journalist responded by saying, “I am deeply disappointed with Tehelka’s response. The claim that I am ‘satisfied’ is false.”
In her mail to Chaudhury, which details the two separate alleged incidents as well as everything that happened before and after, the journalist said, “Both times, I returned to my room in a completely distraught condition, trembling and crying.” She said she had reported both incidents to three colleagues who were also in Goa for the festival. She said Tejpal later sent her text messages insinuating that she had “misconstrued” the “drunken banter”.
What makes such men attempt sexual assaults? Disrespect for the person they assault? A sense of their own power to get away with the crime? Or just lack of awareness that ‘only Yes means Yes’?
There was another similar report, recently – ‘The woman said she was inebriated when a co-worker took her to a room and raped her.’ Weren’t such assaults ever reported earlier?
This case affirms, once again, that the biggest and the first step in tackling sexual assaults is ensuring that potential victims have a Voice.
The Tehelka episode is the latest in the series of examples of women speaking up against sexual harassment
This will be known as the year rapists, sexual molesters, perverts, predators and assorted other Indian creeps realized they can no longer count on that one big assumption that makes them so brazen: Indian women don’t like sharing horror stories.