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6 Ways NOT To Respond To Sexual Harassment Allegations: Issued In Interest of Kevin Spacey And Others

Sex and sexual abuse are two different things

[Image: Marcos Gasparutti, Flickr]

I know what you are thinking. That people are always talking about sexual harassment these days. It could be because more people are getting sexually harassed or because more people are talking about getting sexually harassed. I hope it’s the latter.

Kevin Spacey’s Response

So the latest we heard is from Anthony Rapp, actor. He spoke about how when he was still a minor, Kevin Spacey, renowned actor, had sexually abused him. He said that he had drawn courage to speak about it from the women in the film industry who had recently done the same with Harvey Weinstein.

Now the point where this gets really creepy is with Kevin Spacey’s response to the allegation. His response on twitter said the following

  • He didn’t remember the incident.
  • If it had happened, he wanted to apologise for it.
  • He is gay.

What I understood from his response coupled with statements from certain others in academia is that men have no clue how to respond to allegations of sexual harassment. So much so that I feel sorry for them. If you have abused someone and don’t want anyone to know that, then shouldn’t you also be careful about the language you use while speaking about it?

So here is a list. Oh no. Not that list. It is a list of things that you should NOT say if you are accused of sexual harassment.

1. Don’t talk about your sexual orientation

Yeah, this one is for you, Kevin Spacey. You know why? It is because of the fact that sex and sexual abuse have got nothing to do with each other. Sexual abuse is about power. Like how you used your power and stated it in front of a 14 year old Rapp. You forced yourself on him and even asked him if he was sure if he wanted to leave. Now how is your being gay in any way related to this? You didn’t assault Rapp because you were sexually attracted to him but because you thought you could abuse him.

2. ‘I can’t remember’

Do you know what that sounds like? Like ‘I have assaulted so many people that I am finding it difficult to remember if I molested this person.’

3. ‘My record is clean’

Partha Chatterjee, whose name featured in the Sexual Harassment Hall of Shame List, said that he had not sexually harassed anyone in his career of 44 years. What does that prove? It either means that you have not sexually harassed anyone or it means that no one you harassed spoke up until now. Instead of leaving these two options open, if you are a wise harasser, you would say that you have not harassed ANYONE. EVER. If you want to sound convincing, that is.

4. Proof

Arghya Basu, editor, who was also on the list said that the allegation was rubbish and that it was the victim’s responsibility to come up with proof. You already know the consequence of that because filmmaker Nishtha Jain came out as the victim and explained what you had done to her. She took the names of a lot of people in whom she had confided. Don’t make such mistakes in future. Sexual harassment is not about assembling proof. The victim’s testimony is of supreme importance. In fact if someone has decided to speak of abuse after years of it taking place, doesn’t it amount to proof in itself? Think about it if your male consciousness allows it.

5. There is no official complaint

Of course not. How will there be official complaints when all the processes related to a complaint of sexual harassment are against the victim? It was not even possible to lodge a case against Kevin Spacey but even then they put an end to the popular series, House of Cards in which he starred. You might need a court case to put a person in jail. But to remove him from a position of power, all you need is brains. Pity if you don’t have any and yes, I do mean you, Amit Tyagi, Dean, FTII where Arghya Basu and Sandeep Chatterjee work.

6. I was drunk

Yeah and this technologically advanced alcohol that you drank had supernatural powers that could sexually harass someone. Pu leez!

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Nishtha_Jain

Filmmaker Nishtha Jain’s Account Confirms Why We Need A Sexual Harassment List