“I won’t tolerate your patriarchal tone.”: That’s what she said
Netizens applauded and congratulated Priya Ramani, a Journalist who was sued by MJ Akbar, former Union Minister and Editor for breaking her silence against sexual violence at the workplace. Akbar filed a criminal defamation case against Priya alleging that she tarnished his reputation with her false claims that she made during the #Metoo Movement in October 2018 which dates back to 20-odd years ago.
That’s how she was rewarded for vocalizing her case against sexual predators of our patriarchal society, quite evidently it was a zealous attempt to explemify those who dare to stand and speak against the patriarchal structure of our society.
Finally, she got acquitted in the defamation case in an empowering judgment headed by Ravindra Kumar Pandey. The Court acknowledged that 20 years ago, ‘Vishaka Guidelines’ or ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act’, 2013 wasn’t there to provide protection, and years cannot be a criterion to whether to speak or not on any sexual violence. The Judgement will enable countless women like Ramani to speak up against sexual harassment at the workplace. “A woman cannot be punished for raising voice against sexual abuse on the pretext of criminal contempt of defamations as the right to reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity as guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution”.
#Metoo movement not only challenged the toxic patriarchal structure but also brought convictions to powerful reputed men like Comedian Bill Cosby, film producer Harvey Weinstein, etc. However, India witnessed backlashes to vocal women and lacked to call impunity into account.
This judgment empowers women to speak up against sexual abuse and hopefully, will impel men to introspect their patriarchal behavior. However, there are several underprivileged women whose stories haven’t surfaced yet and lack serious hearing, there’s a long way to go, and man’s unwilling gesture to rectify their sexist attributes towards women.