Shrutee Choudhary, Gauri Awasthi: At least he can't hurt anyone again

Dec 30, 2018, 07:37 IST | Aastha Atray Banan

A day later, Choudhary came out with her story, which was slightly more extensive. It spoke of her being in a toxic relationship with Ruparel, who sexually and emotionally manipulated her

Shrutee Choudhary, Gauri Awasthi: At least he can't hurt anyone again
Shrutee Choudhary and Gauri Awasthi

Shrutee Choudhary and Gauri Awasthi
Mumbai and Louisiana respectively
Led the #MeToo campaign against Chintan Ruparel of Terribly Tiny Tales
On October 8, an anonymous letter surfaced on Medium, which alleged that Chintan Ruparel, co-founder of micro-fiction writing site Terribly Tiny Tales, was a sexual predator, who had used his position of power to coerce young girls into engaging in sexual activity with him. Ruparel, 30, popular in the writing circles, had loyal fans who cried foul, and said an anonymous account (the details described in which seemed consensual) was not to be taken seriously. But, over the next two days, Gauri Awasthi and Shrutee Choudhary came out with their experiences as well.

"The letter was a trigger, as everyone was saying it wasn't true. It was then that I realised we had to put a name to it. And so, a day later, I told my story on Instagram," says Gauri Awasthi, 23, a student of creative writing in Louisiana. Awasthi spoke about a writing trip to Uttan, near Mumbai, in January 2016, where Ruparel was also invited, and how he made unwelcome advances towards her.

A day later, Choudhary came out with her story, which was slightly more extensive. It spoke of her being in a toxic relationship with Ruparel, who sexually and emotionally manipulated her. Little did they know they had opened a can of worms. "Once we put it out there, the accounts started pouring in. We didn't realise the magnitude of this. And, every time a girl spoke to us, we felt her trauma," says Choudhary. The two women then resolved to make Ruparel pay for his deeds. Thanks to their relentless telling of stories of girls who had been mistreated by Ruparel, he was asked to step down from his duties at TTT. Several brands also broke off ties with TTT.

"We realised that we were normal people, and we didn't have as much influence as he did. But, social media became our power. The magnitude of it was empowering, and even though we couldn't take legal action against him, we got to tell our story and stand together," says Choudhary, to which Awasthi adds, "At least he can't hurt anyone again."

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