In Tisca Chopra's consent guidebook, no does not mean no unless it is 'point blank'

Taking account of the Harvey Weinstein case which also fueled the #MeToo crusade, Tisca Chopra stated that women too share the blame for sexual harassment.

At a time when people are finally coming together to talk about sexual harassment, Bollywood actress Tisca Chopra has decided to lend her voice to the debate and not in a good way. Taking account of the Harvey Weinstein case which also fueled the #MeToo social media crusade, the 43-year-old actress took an opposing stand and said that women share the blame for being victims of sexual harassment.

To probe into the possibility of the Bollywood film industry sharing Hollywood’s misdeeds, The Print questioned several Bollywood actresses on casting couch and sexual harassment. Chopra, being one of the people who were questioned, resorted to victim blaming and said, “I’m going to be very categorical when I say that women are just as much to blame, because they put themselves in those vulnerable positions.”

You mean, they show up for meetings in hotels JUST like most of the other cast?

Tisca Chopra

Emphasising on protecting oneself, Chopra added that sometimes a woman “goes and says yes” and therefore emboldens men to be more forward about asking for sexual favours. Because if you give your consent once, it is therefore implied that you cannot take it back?

The actress suggested women should simply hit such predators with “flat-out ‘no’s” to help them understand they are not getting what they want. First of all, would they be sexual predators if they understood what ‘no’ implies, Ms Chopra?

“Why do these women go to hotel rooms? Do they not fear for their personal safety? Have they not heard of people’s reputations, and why do they engage with those men?”

I don’t know, how about for work? And because not everyone has been as fortunate and privileged as you apparently have been. Also, going by her statement are women supposed to look at every man as a sexual predator? What about outsiders and newcomers – must they too be aware of all the gory details that you as an almost-veteran would have access to? Wait, though. She has more.

“Why do they not say ‘N-O:no’ point blank? And why be alone with a person like that? Every human being is hardwired to protect themselves. Self-preservation is the biggest instinct human beings have, why do they lose that? They think that somehow they will be the one that will duck the pattern and will escape. Knowing someone’s reputation, why would you put yourself in that position with them?”

First of all, how do you know that they do not object? If she had indeed, read the various first-person accounts of the victims of Harvey Weinstein, she would know that he would physically chase women despite their refusal. And why must women have their guard up at all times? Why is the onus always on them? A casual hang-out, at bars, coffee houses or hotel rooms, is nothing more than what it is – a casual freaking hang-out or a work meeting. It could mean countless other things- professionally or personally- OTHER than consenting to sex. Agreeing to chat up, accepting offers to share a few drinks, are NOT invitations for sexual assault.

Even if a woman decides to indulge in casual flirting, that does not mean she wants to have sex with you. Nothing does – unless she actually SAYS she wants to.

Chopra even took to Twitter to elaborate on her statements that have outraged social media:

Umm… NO. A ‘no’ means ‘no’. Nothing else. Does she really think perpetrator is not aware that you’re really not into it? Most of them are –  and news flash – they don’t care.

It is downright shameful that even after all this time, people still choose to believe that sexual harassment is to be pinned on someone other than the person who harasses. It is really imperative, especially today, that we understand what victims go through during and after they are faced with sexual abuse. Because as inexcusable as sexual abuse is, so is victim shaming.

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