#MeToo in India: Mithali Raj supports victims of sexual harassment, says important to speak without fear of prejudice

Hyderabad: India's women's ODI cricket team captain and an icon of the game, Mithali Raj, has lent her support to the ongoing #MeToo movement in India, stating that it is "important" for the victims of sexual harassment to stand up for their cause without thinking of people's reactions.

Speaking exclusively to Firstpost, Mithali said, "I support the #MeToo movement. It’s important to make our workplace safe for women. Consent is such an important word, but most people still don’t understand it fully."

"If somebody experiences it (sexual harassment), I think they should stand up, irrespective of how people would react to it. They don’t have to give justification. If it’s the truth, so be it. At the end of the day, it comes to one's self-respect and dignity. So one needs to gather courage and be bold, brave to talk about it," said the 35-year old.

File image of Mithali Raj. PTI

File image of Mithali Raj. PTI

A recipient of the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award, the ace cricketer also said that though she is not personally involved with the movement, an uprising of such magnitude has helped her understand the pain that scores of women have underwent.

India's #MeToo movement, that erupted last month after actress Tanushree Dutta accused co-actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment, has taken social media by storm, with a host of women revisiting their trauma, some of which date many years back.

Mithali, the leading run-scorer in Women's ODI cricket, said she stands firmly in solidarity with every girl that has been sexually harassed, but expressed her reservations against anonymous claims.

"As a woman, I stand by every girl who has been sexually harassed at her workplace. But I will not stand up for anonymous complains because it is not possible to ascertain the veracity of such claims. The movement should not be not trivialised by politics, fake allegations, or for settling scores against an individual," she said.

 

Of late, thanks largely to the #MeToo movement, several incidents of sexual harassment have come out in the open across a cross-section of industries, and several prominent names from entertainment, media, politics, and sports sectors have been called out.

"Plenty of known names have appeared, but because I personally haven't had too much or any interaction with them, so it wouldn't be fair to make a comment," she said when asked if she was shocked to see some of the names in the offenders' list.

"It is very sad to see some of the names that have appeared because you have looked up to them. Some have inspired you, people like authors, singers, writers, whichever field you talk about. When such things come out it is pretty disheartening," she said.

Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga and former World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga have also been accused of sexual harassment.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri has been allegedly involved in sexual misconduct too.

Author Harnidh Kaur posted the allegations by an unnamed victim, who claimed to be an ex-colleague of Johri at the Discovery Channel. The Committee of Administrations (CoA) have sought an explanation from Johri. He has been asked to submit his explanation within a week.


Updated Date: Oct 15, 2018 13:21 PM

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