Editor’s NoteOpinion

Dear Tanushree: Please file a police complaint, if you seek Justice

I watched with great interest the interview of former Bollywood heroine Tanushree Datta on Republic TV with Arnab Goswami.

It provided some interesting insights into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by Tanushree on Bollywood actor, Nana Patekar.

I empathise with Tanushree. Sexual harassment is a trauma. 

Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain the steps one should take in one’s fight to ensure justice and to ensure that those who sexually harass you, do not attempt it again.

Being a woman, in what claim to be a man’s world, is difficult, especially if the complaint of sexual harassment is against individuals in power.

The pressure, the slander, the uncertainty of justice are key characteristics of the game in the fight for justice in sexual harassment cases.

I have seem some comments on social media stating that because she converted to Christianity, that’s why she is attacking people like Nana Patekar and Vivek Agnihotri who appear to be pro-BJP.

It makes me wonder, when we as Indians will mature and stop looking at crimes, through the prism of religion.

Recently, a 44-years nun was raped, 13 times, over a period of two years, between 2014 and 2016.

The accused rapist was a Bishop – a senior clergyman of the Catholic Church – Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

The rape survivor, who was a religious herself, knocked on the doors of the Church for justice and relief from the sexual abuse trauma.

The Catholic Church in its firm commitment to protecting the image of ‘holiness’ and ‘purity’ of its clergy, decided to ignore her complaints, hoping that their silence on the case would kill her spirit to fight for justice.

The raped Nun even wrote to the Vatican and Pope Francis, but the no one from the Vatican, including Pope, cared to address her sexual abuse complaint; it appeared as though they took a vow of silence on her issue of sexual abuse.

The nun did not give up in her fight for justice. She along with few others nuns who supported her, decided to fight because it was the only way to conquer the fear and eradicate the evil in their lives.

She filed a complaint at the Kerala police. 

Post her complaint, the pressure mounted on the nun was indescribable. She was bribed, threatened, slandered, called a prostitute and much more. Her defiance prevailed, the truth prevailed.

The wheels of justice have started to move on the case with the first step of Bishop Franco Mulakkal being arrested and jailed.

Her fight is a long arduous one, but she has the support of many, who see her fight as a revolution to clean the muck of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and religious institutions.

The nature of the sexual abuse and harassment trauma of the nun and Tanushree Datta are different.

But the process to getting justice is the same and can only be initiated if Tanushree Datta files a police complaint, even if it after 10 years.

Of course it is not going to be an easy task to get justice. But it is not impossible. 

You can complain about everything wrong about the path and the hurdles along the way to seeking justice but if you do not even embark on the first step to seeking justice, which logically is filing a complaint; you will not get the justice you seek.

The step that Tanushree is taken is one of courage, but it does not appear to be a legally logical step. 

She is not going to get justice by pouring her heart out in a TV studio. 

Maybe Bollywood will not support her, maybe the police might go slow on her complaint, maybe the fight for justice will take years, maybe someone with try to bribe her, maybe someone will threaten her. There is no denying all these problems.

In spite of all these expected hurdles, I believe that she must file a complaint and fight this menace of sexual harassment in Bollywood.

Learn from the nun who is a rape survivor; that it not so much about what you say on TV that will make a difference but it is the legal steps you take in your fight that will ensure you get justice.

The nun took on the might of the Catholic Church, Bollywood is nothing compared to the power of the Catholic Church globally.

I prayer for the truth of her complaint that she does turn to the police and believes in the system of justice in the country.

 

 

 

 

 

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