by Moyurie Som
What happens when you as a woman, speak up about your experience of getting molested by a man whose social standing is higher than yours?
Let us see, in the light of the accusations made against TVF comedian Arunabh Kumar.
Now if you've been living under a rock, here's what happened. A woman claiming to have worked under the aforementioned man made an anonymous blog post opening up about her experience of being sexually harassed by him. This statement was then carried forward by eight more women, former employees of TVF, all coming out with their individual experiences of being molested and harassed by Kumar.
So the procedure of reporting harassment is as follows:
1. You will make a statement.
2. The organization hoarding the accused shall release a statement in response to your allegations.
The statement can be of two types-
Apologetic: assuring proper action to make sure the accused is proven guilty and punished accordingly, further ensuring that the organization is a safe space for everyone to work in.
Unapologetic: the victim's statement is vehemently denied and the alleged victim of sexual harassment is harassed further for speaking out; thus consequently firing her and making sure her future in the given industry is ruined forever (even before the victim's allegations are solidly proven wrong).
In case of TVF, it was the second one.
TVF asserted with full confidence, that it was a false fabricated statement coming from anyone who ever claimed to have been molested in their workplace and that when found, all these alleged victims would be given 'severe justice'.
Is it just me or is TVF reeking of rape culture?
The logic here is simple really. If you're so sure that nothing of this sort can ever happen in your organization, why not initiate an investigation and prove yourself right?
But of course, logic never beats the power dynamics of rape culture.
This is representative of people in general too. They'll see a rape allegation and a narrative being developed by investigations and will be all "WHERE'S THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY, I NEED TO PLAY DEVIL'S ADVOCATE."
Because advocating for the devil is so mainstream that no one cares about the obvious victims - where's the fun in that?
Where's the twist, bro?
The plight of women speaking out about being molested/raped by men of influence is not that hard to deconstruct. Their family background, economic and social background, former bosses, ex-boyfriends, sex lives are all brought to the forefront. Whether she goes to parties, indulged in alcohol, wears revealing clothes, are all very carefully looked into. And thus the case for her actually 'asking for it' is built.
Meanwhile of course, the alleged rapist's social and economic superiority is proven, his colleagues and friends are made to testify what a stellar man he is and how he can NEVER even dream of doing such a thing, how his achievements and educational qualifications are brought in the forefront to build up an unquestionably virtuous image.
The victim, tired and exasperated of the process, more often than not withdraws her complaints and proceeds to face the personal ramifications of ever speaking out in the first place- marred reputation among friends, colleagues and in the industry, enhanced emotional and physical trauma and general mistrust in the society.
But hey as long as the man is safe, who cares?
Because if you as a woman have ever had sex in your life, you have automatically opened yourself up to men touching you without consent because the lack of a hymen means you deserve it.
And if you have never had sex before being raped and molested, you're already a used product- no longer touchable or usable for matrimonial/romantic transactions, your vagina has been polluted and marred.
The media industry is, undoubtedly an extremely male dominated industry. The showrunners are mostly male. And no matter what happens, the show must go on right? Even if women get molested, harassed, discriminated against- the show must go on and the popularity of the showrunners must be untouched.
Of course, feminism is used by the media in funny ways. Feminism is show worthy only when it sells and attracts eyeballs (Women's Day Special sales, anyone?) If feminism jeopardizes your TRP, then fuck it! Nothing in the showbiz should trump fame and viewership. If misogyny and rape culture keeps the eyeballs and TRPs in safe, fuck what happens to victims of sexism and harassment.
Feminism is irrelevant if it cannot be sold.
And TVF, you have proved just that.