Internet torn over crowd-sourced name and shame list of sexual harassers in Indian universities

Advocate Raya Sarkar had recently posted a crowd-sourced list of men in Indian academia, accusing them of sexual harassment.

The recent outing of Harvey Weinstein as a serial sexual harasser has kickstarted the critical conversation on sexual abuse. Ever since the Hollywood filmmaker’s crimes came to light, people have been coming out on social media to talk about their encounters with sexual harassment to highlight the gravity of the situation. In view of the #MeToo crusade, advocate Raya Sarkar decided to take on the system of sexual harassment that has scarred the lives of innumerable victims, especially women. Sarkar took the liberty of compiling a crowd-sourced list of professors in Indian universities, accusing them of sexual harassment.

The ‘Name and Shame’ list, which has the names of 60 academic from across the nation, has sparked a debate on whether one must be allowed to publicly shame others on the basis of mere allegations. Others seem to believe this is just the online manifestation of the complex apparatus of women helping other women by making them aware of the possible dangers around them. Even feminists are polarised on the subject. While most people agreed that this would help amplify the voice of survivors and help do away with victim-shaming, others, including women activists at stated they were “dismayed by the initiative on Facebook.”

Indian comedian Aditi Mittal strongly backed the move in a series of tweets:

Mittal among others believes that the list is no different from a woman warning others about predatory men. Hence, it was important for such a list to surface rather than keeping quiet about the traumatic experience of sexual harassment.

The ones in support of the list speak about the failure of the judicial system and having no other “fair” choice than to name and shame alleged harassers publicly. If people continue to stay quiet about sexual harassment and offer the same anonymity that we should to victims, we might never have a chance of vanquishing such crimes.

Others debated that making such a list public is “irresponsible” as there, men are marked as harassers with “no context or explanation.” A few names in the list have been proven guilty of sexual crimes, however, placing them among others, who are only mired by unestablished allegations is unethical.

Some even highlighted that such a crowd-sourced list, that is based solely on allegations, could also easily be abused for defamation. They argued for proper vetting and establishment of the crime before we term someone a sexual harasser.

What about you? Are you in support of Raya Sarkar’s list or do you think it is unethical? Tell us in the comments below.

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