The courage to speak up

Can we even begin to understand the courage and grit it takes for a woman to speak up against her sexual assault? In a climate that is changing, we still continue to shine a spotlight on the victim, not her predator. My column in Hindustan Times:

The complainant in one of India’s most high profile sexual harassment cases is telling me about the price of speaking up. A hostile work environment, mental stress, failing health, long and costly litigation and, despite it all, loss of a job, says the woman researcher who filed a complaint against RK Pachauri in February 2015 when he was still boss at TERI.

“Even today I worry about entering an office room and am scared to open my email,” she says.

Three years later, trial is yet to begin. But, says the researcher, “Sexual harassment by powerful bosses continues because we have a culture that turns a blind eye to it.”

Continue reading “The courage to speak up”

Finally, the glass is half full

The things are changing: Gender issues are now a part of mainstream discourse.

Just over a month ago would you have imagined thousands, men as well as women, marching in protest against rape? Just over a month ago would you have imagined that an online petition could cancel a New Year concert by a hugely popular rapper who sings of his rape fantasies? Just over a month ago would you have imagined policemen in Noida getting suspended after refusing to take complaints of a missing woman seriously?

To those who say nothing has changed in just over a month since the 23-year-old medical student was gang-raped, tortured and thrown off a moving bus, consider this: perhaps finally the glass is half full. Continue reading “Finally, the glass is half full”