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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Can a victim be further victimised???

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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  1. Well written - I agree - it is these so-called "Moral Madams" who are most harmful to other women - as they say - women are their own worst enemies

  2. I hang my head in shame .... such a disgusting thing to do!!

  3. 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.

    well said dear.The above statement has to be understood by one and all.The Moral Madams have a defense ,'if this has not happened to and has happened to her then it must be her fault.' this is wrong. Will these ladies believe only after they are harassed. a well written post.


  4. I was nodding my head on every point you made. brilliant!

  5. It was really disheartening.. not just the incident but what followed. So casually they were trying to brush everything under the mat.. what is 6 months? a time out for rape and molestation? then why dont we give it to the Delhi rapists also?

  6. Hats off to Tejpal's daughter for supporting her friend in her time of her need. She has taken a brave stand too. I am ashamed to hear of the position taken by Shoma. It is true what they say about women being their own worst enemies.

  7. This was really a shameful event. Tarun Tajpal's initial statements and his emails accepting the charges made it clear that this was really a crime that happened. His so called "stepping aside" for 6 months was a cruel joke for what he did.

    After changing his stand many times in the last days, he is now bent on insisting that whatever happened, had happened with consent. If it happened with consent, then why did he need to send email apologizing about it?

    Also, law should punish him as severely as possible so that good message can go to all rich and powerful males that they can't buy or bully their way out of such crimes.

  8. This is the problem and it's our attitude, This colleague of urs should live in medieval time.

  9. You know what I felt shocking was how Shoma & Tarun undermined the entire incident by sugar coating it with English niceties. Shoma being a champion of women cause trying to save Tarun is shameful and hypocritical on her part.

  10. If you go out with men, you are 'that kinda girl'. If you don't, you are behenji type. If you are friendly with the boss, you are licking his ass. If you don't, you are not being proactive in your job. If you work late, you are setting the expectations high for others. If you don't, you think only about your family.

    And the list goes on and on and on..

  11. More than all this, as you said it's the lack of support and compassion from women that makes such incidents all the more difficult to see the light of justice

  12. Its true about moral madams . They too molest the environment in a unique style. To be strong and respond back to them is also tough
    Good that you expressed it here


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