A professor, who finds himself on a list claiming to name those guilty sexual harassment in Indian universities, writes about its perils and his experience.
This morning a journalist friend informed me that I had just been added to the Sexual Harassers List being circulated on the internet. Last evening, I had been discussing my reservations about this list and its implications with a feminist colleague on a Facebook thread. I was charmed.
I was actually accused of sexual harassment in Delhi University in 2003. We had fought long years to formulate a strong and representative policy on sexual harassment and it had just been put into place. This was, of course, met with horror and the need to trivialise the issue by the male establishment.
It was the end of the academic year and several students were being held back over lack of attendance. One of them, a woman, was told that if she filed a sexual harassment complaint against me, she would get her seat. She obliged. She asked another student to join her, who refused, and informed me.
This was to be a fitting lesson to supporters of the sexual harassment policy. I asked for the procedures to begin so we would see the policy in action. Of course, nothing was done.
As someone systemically sexually harassed for almost two decades in educational institutions across India, and fighting the almost always losing battle against it, I know there is no alternative to the fight against it on the ground.
This list trivialises that fight and is only going to strengthen the backlash against attempts to take sexual harassment seriously. Kangaroo courts offer no justice.
Ashley Tellis is an LGBT rights activist and independent academic, journalist, and editor.