Yesterday, somewhere around noon my time, tweets surfaced on some 'shameful incident' by 'someone powerful' at Tehelka. Many wondered what it was about & speculations were ripe with 'it has to do something with a female staff'. Given an hour it became clear that Tarun Tejpal, Editor in Chief at Tehelka was involved in a molestation incident with a female colleague! Read a detailed account here
This news may not come as a shock to most of us, except for the name involved. We have often heard of incidents where a senior official has taken undue advantage of his position and molested or raped a female associate. Work place sexual harassment is not a new topic. But wait, this is what is shocking... have you heard of an organisation where a Senior employee molests his colleague and then when proof surfaces, apologises and goes on a holiday for 6 months instead of jail??? Well that is exactly what our esteemed Mr. Tarun Tejpal plans to do and his organisation has allowed him to do. You can read this to see the full text of his email to Ms. Shoma Choudhary, the Managing Editor of Tehelka and also her mail to the rest of the employees. Sometime back there was an article in Tehelka named 'My Husband My Rapist'... If Tehelka is an organisation really committed to justice to women then they should soon release a new article 'My Boss My Rapist'.
As incase of any incident there are people who oppose it and there are people who justify it. As I said earlier, sexual harassment at workplace is not a fresh news anymore. It happens everyday, everywhere; some are reported and some just vanish in thin air. From a company cab driver to the Chairman anyone can molest & rape a female employee, some get caught and punished and some go on a holiday for 6 months like Tarun Tejpal. When such an incident happens, the victim usually confides in another female colleague. As in this case the victim made a formal written complaint to Shoma about the incident, but it took them a week to take action or rather 'NO ACTION'. Infact Shoma was also quoted saying that it was Tehelka's internal matter & that they do not plan to set up an enquiry.
Every organisation has a Tarun Tejpal, but what is disheartening is that every organisation also has a Shoma Choudhary, a bunch of women who will doubt the victim forever. This incident is from a past work place of mine. I used to work mostly according to the U.S timings, since I worked for Corporate Finance and our headquarters was in the U.S. Female employees usually would leave by 7 pm unless it was absolutely necessary to be present in the offices. They were given access to work from home. About after a month of joining there was this day when I had to be in office till about 4am. My boss, the CFO made sure he dropped me home and also that I gave him a call from my home so that he was sure I was home. This was the way he treated any of his staff, especially the female staff. The next day when I returned to work, another female colleague and who claimed to be a well wisher tells me this, 'Hey I heard you were here till 4am. Don't make it a practice ya, you are not married and so you can stay, next they will expect us also to stay'. I was a little taken aback by her way of speech. There was another incident where a male colleague was making unwanted advances at me, and when I confided in her, she said 'you better be careful ya, you keep partying and all that obviously guys are going to think like that about you'. Yes, I was speechless too!!
Read this chain of tweets of the above incident's victim. Basically a bunch of women trying to say that it never happened to them when they worked in Tehelka so that gave them the right to doubt this victim's story. Women in workplace need to support such victims instead of judging them. Just because some one goes to a pub every weekend or has more number of men as her friends does not mean that she will invite someone to molest her. If a woman is legally single, living by herself or not married yet does not mean she is ready to sleep with every another man she meets. And women folk need to understand this. It is really sad that when someone is victimised some women in the same workplace comes off with their Holier than Thou attitude!!!
I am sure I am not the only one who thinks like this....many of you must have witnessed these so called 'Moral Madams' in their offices....share it in the comment section below....
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