Make no more excuses for sexual predators

Oct 09, 2018, 06:05 IST | mid-day correspondent

The prism through which we look at harassment has changed to an extent, and that perhaps is one of the biggest takeaways of this movement

Make no more excuses for sexual predators

#MeToo, #squealonyourpig or #TimesUp, there has been a deluge of sexual harassment stories from women across the world. The tipping point has been hit and now is the time to change the narrative when it comes to harassment. The prism through which we look at harassment has changed to an extent, and that perhaps is one of the biggest takeaways of this movement.

The first is that although women are the targets in an overwhelming number of cases, men, too, can be victims. This paper had recently written about a reiki Grand Master (GM) who has been accused of molesting men. One should not put a timeline on sexual assault and speaking out.

The most oft-asked question to survivors who speak out about harassment is, why is he/she speaking out now? Why not earlier? There are a million reasons — fear, shock, threats or trying to suppress the memory of it ever happening. Only the victims know how their life has changed in the aftermath, and why they choose a particular moment to speak out. It is their choice alone, and every charge must be investigated on merit.

Throw away 'the boys will be boys' and 'drunken lapse of judgement' excuses. Don't tell women 'you are reading too much into it' either. These are weak justifications for a serious crime like sexual abuse. Crush and debunk politicisation of sexual assault. Neither the accused's or the survivor's political affiliations should matter.

It is not just the calling out of the powerful and guilty that is important. Equally important is how people have realised the different forms harassment can take. People now realise that just because they have never faced harassment from the accused, doesn't mean he or she has not targeted someone else. Not everyone's story will be similar, but they should be respected the same.

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