Dear Barkha Dutt, please don’t trivialise sexual harassment by making it about ideology

Dutt's phone number was reportedly shared on social media, following which she was on the receiving end of harassment and abuses.

Dear Barkha,

It is unfortunate that you were on the receiving end of harassment today. Someone, out of spite, circulated your phone number over social media, and while a few called out of excitement to confirm while it was really the celebrity journalist they had seen on TV, some chose this opportunity to harass you. On your WhatsApp, you got an unsolicited d*ck pic from a complete stranger.

Barkha Dutt received an unsolicited d*ck pic on WhatsApp

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As a woman, who has been on the receiving end of sexual harassment as well, I can empathise with what you must have felt. The anger, the rage of receiving images of genitals is always a rude shock. However, I am surprised you would actually bring political ideology in such sexual harassment.

Read also: Remember when Kanhaiya was accused of flashing his d*ck to a woman?

As a feminist, I am sure you understand how women across political ideologies are on the receiving end of sexual slurs and harassment. In fact, not only celebrities but what has happened to you is something that happens to women across the world daily.

Every day on social media you would read a story how a girl was travelling in a bus and a co-passenger flashed at her or women who have kept their Direct Messages (DMs) on Twitter open get unsolicited d*ck pics in DMs. As a responsible person of influence, I am sure you understand and would agree with me that sexual harassers and predators neither have religion nor ideology. This is evident from the fact that during the #MeToo movement in India, a lot of mediapersons who like to identify themselves as ‘liberals’ and scoff at the term ‘nationalists’ were called out and accused of sexual harassment.

Read also: Vinod Dua refuses to face lady who accused him of molestation, probe committee dissolves itself in frustration

By saying that the unsolicited d*ck pic you received from a complete stranger was sent to you in the name of ‘nationalism’ trivialises the bigger problem on hand that is of sexual harassment. The abuser, who sent you the image, should be put behind the bars. Because what he has done is harassment.

A man sends the picture of his genitalia to a woman not to flaunt his ideology but to rub his misogyny in a woman’s face. It is one of the ultimate act of cowardly sexists. It is an act to “show a woman her place”. It is to show a woman that she is nothing more than an object to satisfy a man’s carnal desires. It is to demean and deride a woman. To bring her down from her pedestal as merely an object to satisfy men. As a tool of his whims. It is an act of disrobing a woman without touching her. Stripping her of her dignity and respect. For a man to show his superiority. It is a power play. Not a war of ideologies.

As a feminist, how do you miss this point? He did not send the d*ck pic to show his nationalism, but his ‘manhood’? By making it about ‘nationalist’ instead of sexual harassment, which is what this is, you undermine the harassment faced by thousands of women every day.


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