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Full text of statement by ex Tehelka journalist in sexual assault case
I am heartened by the broad support I
have received over the past fortnight. However, I am deeply concerned
and very disturbed by insinuations that my complaint is part of a
pre-election political conspiracy.
I categorically refute such insinuations and put forward the following arguments:
The struggle for women to assert control
over their lives and their bodies is most certainly a political one, but
feminist politics and its concerns are wider than the narrow universe
of our political parties. Thus, I call upon our political parties to
resist the temptation to turn a very important discussion about gender,
power and violence into a conversation about themselves.
Suggestions that I am acting on someone
else’s behest are only the latest depressing indications that sections
of our public discourse are unwilling to acknowledge that women are
capable to making decisions about themselves for themselves.
In this past week, television
commentators who should know better, have questioned my motivations and
my actions during and after Mr. Tejpal molested me. Some have questioned
the time it took for me to file my complaint, more inquisitive
commentators have questioned the use of the word “sexual molestation”
versus words like “rape.”
Perhaps the hardest part of this
unrelentingly painful experience has been my struggle with taxonomy. I
don’t know if I am ready to see myself as a “rape victim”, or for my
colleagues, friends, supporters and critics to see me thus. It is not
the victim that categorizes crimes: it is the law. And in this case, the
law is clear: what Mr. Tejpal did to me falls within the legal
definition of rape.
Now that we have a new law that broadens
the definition of rape, we should stand by what we fought for. We have
spoken, time and again, about how rape is not about lust or sex, but
about power, privilege and entitlement. Thus this new law should be
applicable to everybody – the wealthy, the powerful, and the well
connected – and not just to faceless strangers.
As seen by some of the responses to this
case, instances of familial and custodial rape present doughty
challenges to even the most adamantine feminists.
Unlike Mr. Tejpal, I am not a person of
immense means. I have been raised singlehandedly by my mother’s single
income. My father’s health has been very fragile for many years now.
Unlike Mr. Tejpal, who is fighting to
protect his wealth, his influence and his privilege, I am fighting to
preserve nothing except for my integrity and my right to assert that my
body is my own and not the plaything of my employer. By filing my
complaint, I have lost not just a job that I loved, but much-needed
financial security and the independence of my salary. I have also opened
myself to personal and slanderous attack. This will not be an easy
In my life, and my writings, I have
always urged women to speak out and break the collusive silence that
surrounds sexual crime. This crisis has only confirmed the myriad
difficulties faced by survivors. First, our utterances are questioned,
then our motivations, and finally our strength is turned against us: a
politician will issue a statement claiming that speaking out against
sexual violence will hurt our professional prospects; an application
filed in the Delhi High Court will question why the victim remained
Had I chosen silence in this instance, I
would not have been able to face either myself or the feminist movement
that is forged and renewed afresh by generations of strong women.
Finally, an array of men of privilege
have expressed sorrow that Tehelka, the institution, has suffered in
this crisis. I remind them that this crisis was caused by the abusive
violence of the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, and not by an employee who
chose to speak out.
Thank you everyone for your support.
The text of the statement was issued
today to the media
In every step where an attempt is made to unravel the conspirators behind the assassinations and killing, there is an attempt to subvert it and suppress it. By the way will CPI-ML and others tell how often have the Commission's unearthed the truth? Why is CPI-ML and other political parties interested in the lies or half truths which Commission's give birth to? Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose continues to be in news 60 years after his disputed death. A BBC poll named Netaji the third most popular leader in South Asia after Jinnah and Gandhi. Netaji is supposed to have died at the end of Second World War. Netaji went missing while waging war for India 's freedom and in heart of hearts all Indians wish to know what happened to him. Nehru did institute the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee in 1956 after the Indian newspapers broke the news (based on agancy reports) on August 25, 1945 that Netaji had died in a freak plane crash in Taipei (Taihoku) on August 18th, 1945 . Nehru'
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