It was riveting to watch Brett Kavanaugh scream and accuse the Democrats while he was being questioned (not interrogated) for the sexual assault allegations against him on Thursday.
Despite the fact that the Republican senators continued to deny a proper FBI investigation into the claims, it was moving to see that at least someone with a reputation as him is being questioned and held accountable for something he allegedly did.
One might say I am aiming for just the crumbs, but from the perspective of an Indian woman, even this public hearing seems like a part of victory or a victorious beginning. Simply because in India, we barely ever see someone as powerful and privileged being questioned, let alone being convicted.
Yes, we had few pretentious ‘god-men’ or babas like Asaram or Gurmeet Insan face that but an actor, a judge, a minister – almost unheard of despite the claims.
Hollywood takes credit, and deservedly so, for playing a crucial role in the #MeToo movement by knocking down giants like Bill Cosby and Weinstein. Yet, Bollywood has no such accomplishments when it comes to sexual assault cases.
Actress Tanushree Dutta had accused Nana Patekar of sexual misconduct back in 2008, which I never saw or heard from any mainstream news channels. In the last few days, her story has gotten momentum after an interview about the #MeToo movement in Bollywood.
Despite holding Nana Patekar in high esteem up until now, I believe Tanushree and here are 5 reasons why I do:
It is the exact same narrative. Ditto. Word for word. He is a ‘good guy’. He is so respectable and has won awards.
Look at the ‘ache admi’ comment. As if a person’s ability to rape or not rape is like the ability to drive a car. Who decides who is ‘ache admi’ and why don’t people get that one person can be humble and kind to many while being an absolute monster to few?
The monster does not reveal its face to the whole world at one time but only to one or few. Don’t ask the 9 million people he has worked with or been around who he has been great with. Because those don’t matter. Ask only the one he has hurt.
Imagine this. You go to a famous restaurant and order their famous dish. It had a cockroach and you get food poisoning.
Now you want to sue or complain against the restaurant. Should the court invite the countless people who ate at the same restaurant and didn’t get food poisoning? And no matter how many people testify, would it change the fact that you got sick by eating their food?
In the comment above, look how this gentleman is pointing out at the ‘kind of movies’ Tanushree has done. Clearly indicating that if an actress has exposed her body or done some raunchy songs then she is a slut and has no right to complain or consent. She is garbage already and has no credibility. Of all the comments out there, this is the most common narrative and I want to settle this once and for all here:
Even if a woman is a prostitute selling her body on the street or your wife of 20 years, YOU STILL NEED CONSENT TO TOUCH HER! And without her consent, you become a rapist, even if you are her husband of 20 years and even if she is a prostitute. Just because someone sells something, does not mean she wants to sell it to you.
There are others questioning ‘WHY DIDN’T SHE REPORT EARLIER’. Well, she did. At that very moment and was rescued by the police. She got the cops involved, reached out to the producers and also the Cine and Television Artistes Association, yet nothing helped. She, in fact, was victimized by the system since Nana Patekar got the MNS goons involved. Her entire career ended while Nana and others involved still flourish and succeed. This is what the question in the title of this article is about.
Despite the fact that Tanushree gave up on the case thanks to the harassment by the system, if the police have clear conscience, they better come up with their defense and re-open the investigation and hold Nana accountable for his actions. But we all know, that’s never going to happen in India.
We have seen this before in case of Salman Khan; both in case of his driving charges and abusing Aishwarya.
The large fan following is so completely blinded by the charm of these actors, they fail to see the human in the man they have now put on a pedestal. They absolutely refuse to see the difference between the hero they saw on the big screen and the man that person is without the cameras present. I personally liked Nana for his acting skills and his outspokenness on social issues and charity. But neither of these are certificates of intent when it comes to what happened between him and a woman.
Fans forget that humans do not exist in a binary. The best of humans have flaws and not everyone in the world knows those flaws. How does one’s talents or skills in their profession make them immune to criminal conduct, I have always failed to understand. Unfortunately, the majority of Indians rely on that bias when it comes to claims against their beloved actors.
Having lost her career, her safety, her earnings and bringing a potential life threat upon her, what do you think Tanushree gained by all of this?
First of all look at the language used to address her. And second of all, notice the claim that she is doing all of this for fame.
Her career has already taken the hit after she was blacklisted, branded unprofessional and shun by the Bollywood industry. When people want fame, they go to Indian Idol or Big Boss, not put themselves in the public eye with an assault story only bring wrath and rape threats of angry men. I have never seen one rape case where the victim was not accused of doing all of this for ‘fame’. Maybe one, Aruna Shaunbaug’s case but only because she was left in a vegetative state for the rest of her life and also because the rapist was not a famous, wealthy, privileged man.
Other than her, any case where the victim is not dead, you will hear the exact same narrative of ‘doing this for fame’.
About 50 women accused Bill Cosby. How many got fame by doing so? How many of their names do you remember? And what did they get if you did remember their names?
Please start believing women when they come forward with sexual assault allegations because the chances of them lying are rare; and letting go rapists and molesters without repercussions is the reason why India is tagged as the world’s most dangerous country for women.
Being a victim myself, I can assure you it is not easy to speak about your ordeal in public. And you get re-traumatized everytime social media trolls pass nasty comments about the most vulnerable and sensitive subject of your life.
What sane person would put themselves in such a position just for the fun of it?
And start by believing the women around you. Whether or not they went to the police, whether or not they spoke up right after the incident, whether or not there was a witness…if you have to give the benefit of doubt to someone, give it to the victim, not to the suspect.