#MeToo movement doesn’t represent DBA women yet: Raya Sarkar

She also urged for better enforcement of sexual harassment laws and also setting up of tribunals for women in the informal sector. “I would like to see schools and workplaces having functional ICCs.

Published: 17th October 2018 07:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st October 2018 09:42 AM   |  A+A-

Raya Sarkar

Raya Sarkar(Photo| Facebook)

HYDERABAD: Law student Raya Sarkar, who published a crowd-sourced list naming alleged sexual harassers from the academic circle and who has been heralded as the founder of the #MeToo movement in India hoped that the current movement could include Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi women in it. 

Speaking to Express, Sarkar said, “Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi (DBA) women have the least access to justice and often face intense hostility from the Savarna community when they attempt to take due process measures or expose predators. The movement does not represent DBA women yet. I hope as a community we can build more resources and support for the most vulnerable and marginalised. Any campaign should not treat the most vulnerable as just an afterthought,” she said. 

Till now, the #MeToo movement in the country has been an urban phenomenon. Professionals who have been outed are mostly from English media houses, advertising companies, national NGOs and other bodies. Sarkar said, “I think it has potential to spread to regional spaces but frameworks do not exist to support and protect survivors there. Exposing a predator is more difficult when one does not have resources, aid or support systems to help and protect them in the aftermath.”

READ| Another woman comes out against Union minister M J Akbar

Last year in October, a law student from University of California uploaded a Facebook post naming at least 70 professors from colleges/universities such as Jadavpur University, Delhi University, English and Foreign Languages Univeristy - Hyderabad as sexual harassers. One of the named is a leading political theorist from Centre for Studies in Social Sciences. 

The post had caused a furore on social media. While some lauded Sarkar for her initiative, there were a strong group of people who had critcised her. Activists like Kavita Krishnan, Ayesha Kidwai and others had said that her post had “delegitimised the work of feminists”. The same activists now support the current #MeToo movement — which has irked some. 

Sarkar said, “I think it is hypocritical of them to condemn the list last year, but support allegations this year. The list had included many names of their friends and colleagues.”   

Despite the traction on social media and mainstream media, the movement that spurned out from the “list of sexual harassers in academics” (LoSHA), had fizzled out after a time. It was only a year later with the Brett Kavanaugh-Christine Blasey Ford controversy raging in USA that the #MeToo movement again hit the Indian shores. Sarkar reasoned that her movement might have fizzled out because she was not a “Brahmin heterosexual”. “Many had mocked LoSHA and condemned it.

It is why others were apprehensive to expose predators, I think. Comparing responses to both makes an interesting case study. Maybe I was not considered reliable because I am not a Brahmin heterosexual,” Sarkar told Express over email.

She also urged for better enforcement of sexual harassment laws and also setting up of tribunals for women in the informal sector. “I would like to see schools and workplaces having functional ICCs. Many people don’t know what consent means and it’s scope  — members of the ICC panels need to be educated about this.”

Stay up to date on all the latest The Sunday Standard news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp