India’s own #MeToo movement explodes on social media, now victim journalists share horror stories

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A day after a former member of the comedy group, AIB, was publicly shamed for sexually harassing women, more horror stories have emerged. This time the victims are journalists, some of whom have mustered courage to speak about their terrible experiences in the past.

journalists

Several female journalists have come forward to share how they were victims of sexual harassment at work places by their superiors, friends and acquaintances. One journalist, Nikita Saxena, wrote, “When I started out as a cub reporter, a senior colleague once shouted me down during an argument at a social gathering in a pub. “I am not used to women speaking to me this way, you better keep quiet before I lose my cool.” I was shaking when I got back home.”

Sharing another experience, she wrote, “A year later, I was quitting and moving to Delhi. I went for my last interview with an advertising veteran who had been a mentor of sorts to me. He was always willing to meet for interviews, aware of my interest in political journalism and encouraged me on that path.

“We finished the interview. As the video journalist was packing up the equipment, I got up to shake the veteran’s hand. He pulled me into a hug. He kissed me on both my cheeks. Forceful, hurried, sloppy kisses, that I can still remember with a sense of humiliation. I turned around instinctively, to see if the video journalist with me had seen. To see if anyone in the agency had seen. I felt shame. I told a few people, but it was laughed off. What kind of power does a journalist have over a source on the beat they report on?”

Another journalist, Rashmi Sinha, too shared her own nasty experience in a Twitter threatd, She wrote, “A present day Deputy Executive Editor of a news channel once approached me to sleep with him. I was a newbie at work and he was a super senior. Please note – this was my first job. I was also more naive, ignorant, indecisive and confused.

“There were talks at work about his affair with a woman and things between them were evident. Not just me, there were other women at work who often spoke about his creepy ways of staring at them.” Sinha wrote that the senior journalist in questions told her, “We will have our terms, we never text each other outside of office, you do not talk about this to anyone.” “This was to safeguard himself. I was getting fake compliments and attention at first and then I decided NO,” Sinha added.

She said that when she refused to reciprocate her unnamed senior’s feelings, he began to harass her by constantly finding faults in her work. “He picked on my work. He found faults with my work every time and came to my desk to vent it out. It was just a great narcissistic joy for him to shout at me in front of everyone,” Sinha added.

Journalist Anoo Bhuyan accused a journalist from a newspaper of having sexually harassed her. Journalist Priyanka Bansal said she too was harassed by the same journalist. But added that he profusely apologised later. She, however wrote that keeping quiet on his apology was her mistake.

Journalist Sandhya Menon had her own share of misery as she recounted a few instances of sexual harassment.

Journalist Pavitra Jayaraman said a senior journalist had once asked her to come to his house since his wife was ‘not in town.’

And the accusation kept pouring in on Friday. Well-known cultural critic Sadanand Menon, who was already in the eye of storm with several sexual harassment allegations, was also accused by an ex-student of Asian College of Journalism.

The sudden explosion of India’s own #MeToo moment has come a day after former AIB comedian Utsav Chakraborty apologised for sexually harassing a series of girls in the past including by sending a photo of his genitalia.

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