ME TOO MOVEMENT
#ME TOO MOVEMENT
- Me too movement
The ‘me too.’ movement was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. Their vision from the beginning was to address both the dearth in resources for survivors of sexual violence and to build a community of advocates, driven by survivors, who will be at the forefront of creating solutions to interrupt sexual violence in their communities. In less than six months, because of the viral #metoo hashtag, a vital conversation about sexual violence has been thrust into the national dialogue. What started as local grassroots work has expanded to reach a global community of survivors from all walks of life and helped to de-stigmatize the act of surviving by highlighting the breadth and impact of a sexual violence worldwide. Their work continues to focus on helping those who need it to find entry points for individual healing and galvanizing a broad base of survivors to disrupt the systems that allow for the global proliferation of sexual violence. Their goal is also to reframe and expand the global conversation around sexual violence to speak to the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors. Young people, queer, trans, and disabled folks, Black women and girls, and all communities of color. They want perpetrators to be held accountable and want strategies implemented to sustain long term, systemic change.
Tarana Burke began ‘me too’ with young Black women and girls from low wealth communities. She developed culturally-informed curriculum to discuss sexual violence within the Black community and in society at large. Similarly, the ‘me too’ movement seeks to support folks working within their communities to attend to the specific needs of their community/communities, i.e. supporting disabled trans survivors of color working to lead and craft events/toolkits/etc. with other disabled trans survivors.
- Tarana Burke
Tarana Burke is a 45-year-old African-American civil rights activist from New York. Burke is the senior director of girls for gender equity in Brooklyn, which strives to help young women of color increase their overall development through various programs and classes.
In 2017, she made it to the ‘Time person of the year’ among other activists. According to an interview given to CNN, Tarana Burke considers this as a movement and not a viral campaign. Although the historic movement started around 12 years ago, it became famous only two years ago. Now, it is being used by women across the globe to share their anguish against sexual harassment.
- Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades
October 5, 2017
The Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faces a series of allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact stretching back nearly three decades, according to a New York Times investigation. During that time period, Mr. Weinstein has settled at least eight times with women, including actresses and assistants, according to two company officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The article includes first person accounts of Weinstein’s alleged conduct, including from Judd, who recounts an incident from two decades ago in which she said she was asked to meet Weinstein in his hotel room. Weinstein greeted her wearing a bathrobe and asked her if she would give him a massage or watch him shower, the paper reported.
- Actress Alyssa Milano reignites “Me Too” with the tweet “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” and it quickly turned into a movement.
October 15, 2017
Alyssa Milano (actress) tweeted that read: “If all the women and men who have been sexually harassed, assaulted or abused write “me too”. The morning after Milano’s tweet, close to 40,000 people — mostly, but not exclusively, women — had replied. On Instagram, Twitter and Facebook the words “me too” dominated timelines — sometimes by themselves, sometimes accompanied by an example (or examples) — serving as a harrowing reminder that sexual harassment and assault are deeply ingrained, alarmingly common experiences that poison our culture in ways we’re only beginning to recognize.
- More than 300 women of Hollywood form an anti-harassment coalition called Times Up
Jananuary 1, 2018
Inspired by sexual harassment stories rocking Hollywood and an open letter of solidarity from 700,000 female farmworkers, Time’s up was a pledge. TIME’S UP was born out of the need to turn pain into action. In the fall of 2017—as revelations of widespread abuse and misbehavior at the hands of powerful men sparked a global reckoning—a group of women in entertainment began to meet. Artists, executives, producers and other leaders came together to talk about what we could do to prevent abuse and ensure equity for working women.
- Time’s Up has its Oscar’s moment and touts diversity, inclusion and intersectionality.
March 4, 2018
The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements were ever present at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Host Jimmy Kimmel ribbed Harvey Weinstein and others sullied by harassment scandals in his opening monologue. Three Weinstein accusers — Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek — spoke to the effects ushered in by the producer’s downfall. “The changes we’re witnessing are being driven by the powerful sound of new voices, of different voices, of our voices joining together in a mighty chorus that is finally saying time’s up,” Judd added.
- R. Kelly faces a #metoo reckoning as Time’s up backs a protest
May 1, 2018
For more than two decades R. Kelly, the multiplatinum R&B idol repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, has outrun his reputation. In the age of #MeToo, it may finally be catching up to him. Since the first major newspaper investigation by The Chicago Sun-Times into allegations of abuse by the singer in 2000, Mr. Kelly has consistently denied that he has been violent and sexually coercive with women and young teenagers even as he has settled lawsuits, dating to the mid-1990s, with accusers. In 2008 he was acquitted of child pornography charges despite videotape evidence that, prosecutors contended, showed him urinating on and having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
- Christine Blasey Ford, currently a professor at Palo Alto University, accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault for an incident that occurred while the two attended separate high schools in Bethesda, Md.
September 16, 2018
Christine Blasey Ford, 51, a research psychologist at Palo Alto University in Northern California, said in an interview with the Washington Post that during a high school party in the early 1980s, a drunken Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, groped her and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming. . Ford revealed her identity in a Sept. 16 Washington Post article and has offered to testify about the incident to the Senate Judiciary Committee, pending an FBI investigation. Kavanaugh has the denied the accusations.
- Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
September 27, 2018
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh riveted Washington and the nation with hours of fiery, emotional testimony from the judge and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of sexual assault when they were high schoolers. Kavanaugh denied the accusation. Weeks later, Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
- The Movement Has Lost Its Way
October 23, 2018
In October of 2017, women all over the world adopted her tagline and flooded social media to share their stories of sexual assault and harassment. Tarana Burke’s community-based approach to healing had started a global movement. But in the months since Burke’s unifying language caught hold, the arch0itect of #MeToo talked with the Cut about coming to feel that the movement has lost its way. “What actually happened on October 15  was people raised their hands to say, ‘me too,’” Burke says that in the year since the movement began, she’s observed an unwavering obsession with the perpetrators — a cyclical circus of accusations, culpability, and indiscretions. In part, Burke blames the media for latching onto every salacious detail in stories from #MeToo survivors. She also blames a culture that’s prone to fixate on high drama. “We have to shift the narrative that it’s a gender war, that it’s anti-male, that it’s men against women, that it’s only for a certain type of person — that it’s for white, cisgender, heterosexual, famous women. That has to shift. And I think that it is shifting, I really do. But that’s a part of our work, too.” “I do think that in the next decade we can shift through this work,” she said. “We can shift how we talk about it, we can shift how we respond to it, we can shift how the culture understands it — because it’s going to make a difference in the number of sexual assaults that we see. It’s going to make a difference in the way people respond to survivors of sexual violence, and that difference is really everything.”
- Tanushree Dutta files sexual harassment complaint against Nana Patekar
October 7, 2018
Tanushree Dutta on Saturday filed a police complaint against veteran actor Nana Patekar for allegedly sexually harassing her on the sets of a film in 2008, police said. Dutta, in a recent interview alleged that Patekar had misbehaved with her while filming a song for the 2008 film “Horn Ok Pleasss”. She has filed the complaint at the Oshiwara police station against Patekar, choreographer Ganesh Acharya, producer Sameer Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang.
- Allegation against the Delhi Chief of Bureau and Political Editor at the Hindustan Times, Prashant Jha by Avantika Mehta on Twitter and posted screenshots of their conversation from 2017.
October 6, 2018
Jha resigned via an email to HT Editor in Chief R Sukumar, a screenshot of which was obtained by the Post. In the email, Jha cited “specific allegations” about his “personal conduct” and said that he “would not like the organisation to suffer, in the least, because of any allegations.” “There have been specific allegations against me—my personal conduct—recently, which have raised moral questions about my conduct,” Jha said in the email. “In this backdrop, I believe it would be best for me to step down from the position of the National Political Editor/Chief of Bureau of the Hindustan Times. I would not like the organisation to suffer, in the least, because of any allegations I face.”
- The rise of #metoo in India
October 8, 2018
Last year, Indian journalist Priya Ramani wrote an open letter to “the Harvey Weinsteins of the world,” published in Vogue India. In it, she detailed a job interview with an unnamed older male editor. A year later, on October 8, Ramani identified that editor as M.J. Akbar. He had entered politics and was serving as the minister of state for external affairs (akin to a deputy foreign minister). Multiple women came forward with more allegations, many of them journalists who had encountered Akbar at various publications. Akbar officially resigned from his post last Wednesday. Akbar is now one of the most prominent men to have been brought down by India’s growing #MeToo movement, which has taken hold with intensity.
- Fed up by harassment, Nepali women are going online to share their #MeToo stories
October 11, 2018
On October 10, Kathmandu-based journalist Subina Shrestha shared her story on Twitter. “Millenium, Nagarkot. I was an MC. The youth minister then tried to put his hand on my thigh that evening. That’s called sexual harassment,” she wrote. Shrestha further called out the minister’s “audacity” at having harassed her on the heels of being questioned over similar harassment claims by another woman. Shrestha refrained from naming the perpetrator.
Similar tweets have emerged from other women, who have outlined incidents of harassment but have refrained from directly naming the men involved.
On October 7, theatre artist Akanchha Karki wrote: “A middle-aged pervert feels he is entitled to the ‘love’ of someone half his age, just because he cast her in a play. Has the audacity to harass her, kiss her in the name of exercise, and say she gave him ‘signals’. Tells her to #gotohell after she calls him old and sick.”
“It’s not the odd working hours or that women look for easy jobs, it’s the environment men create that makes it uncomfortable for women in newsrooms. The scrutiny women go through has nothing to do with her work but how she looks, what she wears, who she talks to,” tweeted Meena Kaini, a former journalist.
Reports have also begun to appear in some newspapers regarding the extent of harassment and abuse, as women and young girls speak out, albeit hesitatingly. While much of #MeToo might be limited to social media and urban centres, these tentative reports are a testament to rising consciousness among women, regardless of socio-political status, that sexual misconduct will not be tolerated and no longer stay hidden.
“If media houses in #Nepal are serious abt helping women remain journalists, start by creating stringent anti-harassment regulations n implement them,” Kaini wrote, calling out newsrooms, particularly Kantipur Publications, which publishes this newspaper. “Better still, create a department for it and let a woman lead it.”
- Two women accuse Mayor Sthapit of sexual misconduct: Ripples of #MeToo in Nepal
October 23, 2018
In the wake of budding #MeToo conversations, a few Nepali women exhibited courage to share their experiences on social media. Amid these, two women have accused two-time Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Keshav Sthapit of sexual harassment. A former employee of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office, Rashmila Prajapati said that she was terminated from service, without any explanation, for refusing the then Mayor’s advances. “The mayor, during his first term, repeatedly tried to lure me into spending ‘quality time’ with him to discuss work and my promotion, which I always rejected,” stated Prajapati. Rashmila. Rashmila alleges that Sthapit’s first official decision after assuming office during his second tenure was to issue her termination letter. She said it was an act of revenge for refusing to get exploited. “It was on papers that I was let go on corruption charges but there should have been a reason on my termination letter and supporting evidence if that was the case,” Rashmila argued. This is not the first time that Prajapati has talked about Sthapit’s misconduct. She had written about her experience on online portals two years ago. The news surfaced, again, after Prajapati posted a status on Facebook alleging Sthapit of misconduct. According to Prajapati, she was too scared to come out with her experiences against a man of power in the past as she thought somebody who can take away her job as an act of revenge, is also capable of ‘other’ things. However, the recent #MeToo conversations have encouraged her to re-share her story in hopes of holding the harasser accountable. Likewise, a slam poet and a former correspondent with Republica National Daily, Ujjwala Maharjan also accused Sthapit of misconduct through a Facebook post. “What does it mean when people you meet for one interview for a story you are doing as a journalist, start calling you late at night, not for professional reasons, but to assure you that you are now friends and that you could and should reach out to them anytime you want?” Ujjwala wrote on October 19, a few days after Rashmila Prajapati. “But seriously, what did that mean, Keshav Sthapit?” asks Ujjwala. “I’m in talks with my confidential team. Will file a report on Friday.” Meanwhile, the accused, former Mayor of Kathmandu and current Minister in Province 3 Federal government, Keshav Sthapit has said that both the accusations leveled at him are baseless.
- Former Kathmandu mayor decries ‘rape of men’s rights’ after women accuse him of sexual harassment
October 23, 2018
Nine years after the incident, Maharjan took to Facebook to describe what happened, inspired by Nepali women who were sharing online their stories of sexual harassment, in what is turning into Nepal’s #MeToo movement.
But Maharjan isn’t the only woman to accuse Sthapit of improper behavior and harassment. In a post on Facebook on Saturday, Rashmila Prajapati, a former employee at Kathmandu Metropolitan City office, wrote that Sthapit fired her after she rejected his repeated advances masked as an offer for a promotion. In an interview with the Post, Sthapit strongly rejected the allegations. “This is a rape of men’s rights,” Sthapit said, denying he’d ever met Maharjan and countering the incidents described by Prajapati. Sthapit denied that any of this ever took place, and instead pointed to vague political motives behind Prajapati’s accusations. He said Prajapati had only brought up her accusations to damage him politically.
- Long road ahead for #MeToo in Nepal
October 25 2018
Thousands poured onto the streets after 13-year-old Nirmala Pant’s body was discovered in July angered by allegations the police were protecting the perpetrators. Hashtags such as #JusticeForNirmala – have become the rallying cries for protesters fed up with Nepal’s woeful record of prosecuting cases of violence against women.
But #MeToo has been largely absent from the ongoing debate. Those fighting for change say women still struggle to speak out against their abusers in Nepal.
A handful of women have gone public with #MeToo stories in Nepal, including two accusing the former mayor of Kathmandu, Keshav Sthapit, of abusing his power. Women’s rights activist Hima Bista is concerned that Nepal may not be ready for #MeToo, pointing out that so far only professional women in Kathmandu have felt able to speak out. A change needs to come from the top, but the government’s response to Pant’s killing, the botched investigation and the ensuing protests has invoked outrage and derision. Parliament passed a ban on pornography saying it would curb violence against women, while the home minister blamed rape on capitalism. He also described the protest movement as a conspiracy aimed at toppling Nepal’s communist-led government. There have been small signs of progress: official figures show 479 complaints of rape and attempted rape were made from July to September this year – more than the total number of cases filed between 2008 and 2009 – suggesting the protests have encouraged some to speak up. In 2016 to 2017, 1,131 rapes were reported to the police, but only a tiny fraction ended up in court. Pant’s killers meanwhile remain at large.
- Untold Stories of Sexual Harassment: #MeToo
October 30 2018
The #MeToo is a social media movement which has been gaining a worldwide momentum from the past couple of years. In Nepal, women and girls are coming forward with their own stories of sexual harassment. From the nationwide support for the rape and murder victim, Nirmala Pant and the social media support for #JusticeForNirmala, it is quite clear that the #MeToo movement in Nepal is here to stay. However, there are still hundreds of thousands of women in Nepal who haven’t had the opportunity to share their stories of sexual harassment; most women fear their lives and others are too afraid of their stories backfiring. A form posted on Facebook allowed women of all ages to share their stories anonymously. This led to over 100 responses being submitted within the week of the post. Women from all over Nepal came forward with their stories of sexual harassment. Surprisingly their stories ranged from harassment incidents with close family members, teachers, tutors to even strangers on public transportation. A 16- year old girl from Kathmandu recounts an incident where a middle-aged man unzipped his pants and started rubbing his genitals on the back of her leg.
- Recent #MeToo accusations barely scratch the surface of widespread hidden abuse of women in Nepal
November 2, 2018
Viewers of the popular reality tv show Nepal Idol got a rude shock last week when guest Sandip Chhetri hugged host Reema Bishwokarma, apparently against her will. She cringed, backed off, then complained playfully, “Me too!” Chhetri retorted, “Me three!” Host Asif Shah joined in on the merriment with “Me four, me five!” The audience roared.This was the latest example of just how little understood (or misunderstood) the #MeToo movement in Nepal is, how harassment of women is accepted as normal, and victims do not have platforms for protest. A year after American actress Alyssa Milano went on Twitter to ask victims of Harvey Weinstein to use the hashtag, the aftershocks finally arrived in Nepal, but only after India was rocked by accusations against Bollywood musicians, journalists, actors, and former editor and now minister M J Akbar who had to step down.
Doubtless, it has been difficult for women to speak out even though the #MeToo movement has made their accusations credible for the first time. But most Nepali women with horrific accounts of mistreatment and cruelty are outside the public sphere, or do not want to speak out because of stigma. Leaving aside rape and domestic violence, even workplace abuse of power that #Metoo has been associated with has not come out. Long before #MeToo, actresses Shreesha Karki in 2002 and Jessica Khadka in 2012 committed suicide after their nude images were leaked – indicating that sexual abuse has been rampant in Nepal’s entertainment industry.
- Why #MeToo never really took off in Nepal
December 30, 2018
The allegations against Jha, a Nepali citizen who held a powerful position at an Indian national daily, was #MeToo’s first entrance into Nepal. Following Jha’s resignation, a number of Nepali women, including Prajapati and Maharjan, took to social media to tell their own stories of harassment and inappropriate behaviour by men in power. But despite an initial flurry of tweets and Facebook posts, the movement fizzled out before its presence could even be felt. Sthapit was eventually dismissed as state minister on November 2, not because of the accusations against him but due to verbal altercations with the Province 3 chief minister. Like Prajapati and Maharjan, on December 2, Manisha Lamsal and Nisha Shah came out with their #MeToo story on The Record, an online news portal. Their harrowing post detailed harassment at the hands of a senior professor at the Tribhuvan University. However, while Lamsal was ready to call out the perpetrator by name, Shah was more reluctant, fearing repercussions. In light of this reluctance to openly name perpetrators, the Post recently conducted an anonymous online survey where 53 women provided opinions and thoughts on the #MeToo movement in Nepal. In the survey, 56.6 percent of respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and 52.9 percent said that it occurred from a man who was in a higher position. And while 69.4 percent of the women said they did not report the incident, 70 percent of women who did report said that no action was taken against the perpetrators. However, 57.1 percent of the women said that they believed they need to call out the identity of the men in question. In a country where patriarchy runs deep, naming and shaming one’s perpetrator is revolutionary and subversive on many levels, especially in a country where spaces of social and personal misogyny have never been addressed. In this “boys’ club”, where the voices of women are often unheard and neglected, many women believe that movements like #MeToo will only gain the attention it deserves when people’s patriarchal mindsets are challenged.
- Teacher held for abusing student
January 14, 2019
Head teacher of Mukunda Sen Boarding School at Bhedabari in Gaindakot Municipality-11, Nawalparasi, has been arrested on the charge of sexually abusing a student. Rajendra Poudel was held after a police complaint was filed against him by the parents of the said student. He is currently under police custody. Investigation into the case is underway.
- Tribhuvan University lecturer sexually harassed female students for years
January 24, 2019
An investigation by The Kathmandu Post found previously undisclosed allegations against the 65-year-old Tribhuvan University lecturer stretching over last several years, based on interviews with three former students and their friends who had been directly advised by him. An old student discovered that Bhattachan, on the pretext of giving reading materials about Nepali women to one of his students, had slipped in electronic copies of the books “The Best Oral Sex Ever—Her Guide to Going Down” and “She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman” inside a folder named “Special Reference” in a thumb drive. Bhattachan retired from the university in August 2015, but continued to work with some of his students whom he had been advising on their theses before retirement. In an interview with the Post, Bhattachan strongly denied the allegations, calling them baseless and false. He also said he was not aware of any articles by his former students accusing him of sexual harassment. “I am so surprised,” he said in a phone interview. “I have never heard of anything like this.” The three women, who spoke to the Post, said they broke their silence a few weeks after unwanted advances from Bhattachan at his home and told him they were uncomfortable with his behavior. But instead of apologising, Smriti said, he would defend his actions. “So what? I am doing it out of love,” she said he told her, and get back to working on the thesis as if nothing had happened. The following Saturday, he would start touching her again.“This is how I am.”
On several occasions, Bhattachan made it unbearable by forcibly hugging them, Kripa said, and tried to get away by saying: “I am giving you my blessings.”
- Maths teacher at Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidyalaya sexually abused young girls for decades
January 25, 2019
An investigation by The Kathmandu Post discovered a pattern of abusive behaviour by Tripathee across decades, based on interviews with at least seven female students from various years who described similar tactics of molestation in his maths class. Tripathee remains a teacher at the school, and despite numerous complaints against him, the school administration appears to have taken no punitive action. In a phone conversation with the Post, Tripathee denied the allegations and said he was innocent. “I am shocked,” he said. “I am a teacher and I could When presented with the testimonies of all the women who spoke to the Post, Tripathee categorically denied having done anything wrong. “I am innocent,” he said. Many of the women the Post spoke to shared similar experiences: they didn’t know what was happening, they couldn’t tell whether it was wrong and if they should speak out about it. But most of the women, who had just entered their teens at the time, said they felt uncomfortable and an inkling that whatever was happening was not right. Still, they said they couldn’t bring themselves to call Tripathee out directly on his behaviour. Over the years, however, victims have attempted to register a formal complaint against Tripathee with the school administration. But little came of it. One of the student, who is now in her late teens and studying nursing, said a group of them lodged complaints numerous times—and repeatedly for two years—but no one in the school administration took any action. The Post attempted to reach out to parents but did not receive any response. Some of the parents asked the Post not to report the story and that they would find a way to resolve the issue internally. However, all of the women the Post spoke to were insistent that their stories be told and said they hoped Tripathee is held publicly accountable for his actions. Tripathee’s students remember him as an authoritative but friendly teacher. His authority didn’t just allow him to do as he pleased, it also secured him the silence from young girls he continued to molest for years. “I don’t think he thinks what he did was wrong,” said Shubhasana Pradhan, 24, who was also molested by Tripathee.
- Tears and anger at a Lalitpur school after revelations about a teacher’s history of sexual abuse
Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidhyalaya suspended Basu Tripathee following a Post investigation on Saturday
January 27, 2019
A crowd of former students and parents had gathered at the gates of a community-run Lagankhel-based school. Visibly upset and angry, they were waiting for the gates to open so they could confront the school administration over allegations of sexual abuse by Bodha Raj ‘Basu’ Tripathee, a maths teacher. Hours later, Vice Principal Geeta Sitaula emerged from a closed meeting with the student and parent representatives to announce that Tripathee had already been fired on Saturday—except he hadn’t. Nearly a hundred parents and former students had gathered at the premises of Lalitpur Madhyamik in Lagankhel following the Kathmandu Post’s investigation on how Tripathee had sexually molested children for decades while a teacher at the school. Seven women had recounted how Tripathee would touch them inappropriately in class and how his behaviour, although common knowledge, had been ignored by the school administration. He, like many others there, had shown up at the school following a call for action on social media by former students. Many gathered outside the school recounted experiences of abuse and inappropriate behaviour, not just at the hands of Tripathee, but also a number of other teachers. An hour-and-a-half later, when the meeting came to an end, Sabrina Basnet, a student representative, announced that they had put forth a list of demands, a number of which the school was willing to address immediately. One of their demands was that members of the school administration who had known about Tripathee’s behaviour should step down. Their second demand was that the administration, in coordination with the alumni, make reformation policies, which include classes for students and training for teachers on what constitutes sexual harassment. Their third demand was that the administration publicly apologise to all parents and students for staying silent for so long. Sitaula, the vice principal, also appeared in front of the crowd and said Tripathee had been suspended following the Post reporters’ request for comment on Thursday. In response to a query asking whether Tripathee had been fired or simply suspended, Situala reiterated that he had been fired after the Post’s investigation was published on Saturday. However, hours later, the Post obtained a document signed between the students and the school representatives that showed Tripathee had only been suspended and had been given a week to furnish clarification in compliance with labour union laws.
When asked why she had told parents and students that Tripathee had been fired, a frustrated Sitaula said she was confused and refused to answer the question. Student representatives told the Post that they had reached a collective decision to register a First Information Report (FIR) against Tripathee at the Metropolitan Police Range in Jawalakhel, by the students, parents and school administration. But an administrative official at the Police Range on Sunday afternoon refused to file the FIR, citing the statute of limitations regarding past abuse cases. The statute of limitations for childhood abuse, according to Article 74 (2) of the Act Relating to Children, is a year after a person turns 18. One parent, whose daughter had recently experienced abuse at Tripathee’s hands, backed down from filing the FIR at the very last moment. Student representatives said that they would continue to explore options to pursue a legal case against Tripathee.
- Bhattachan responds to sexual harassment charges
Jan 29, 2019
I have a serious concern on the main news (‘Tribhuvan University lecturer sexually harassed female students for years’, 24 January 2019) of your esteemed newspaper, The Kathmandu Post. My serious objection is that the main news, my picture and the thrust of the news appears to have been published, in your credible newspaper, in an organised way with malicious intent to sabotage and systematically attack the Indigenous Peoples’ movement by defaming me based on the baseless and manufactured allegations of sexual harassment, damage my reputation, professionalism and dignified life, as I have been highly critical of racism and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples, Dalit, Madhesi and other marginalised communities. The Kathmandu Post, through the headline news and the picture, clearly declare and give the impression that I am convicted of sexually harassing female students, but the content of the news does not match with it as it is based on false, baseless and manufactured allegations. Further, the Kathmandu post has violated the privacy law by publishing my picture in the news without my consent.
Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan
- Two more teachers from Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidhyalaya accused of sexual abuse by former students
February 5, 2019
While a number of the women spoke about instances of abuse by Tripathee, others named two other teachers—Sumanta ‘Suman’ KC and Gokul Sharma—as abusive and predatory. KC, a Nepali teacher, continues to teach at the school, while Sharma, an English teacher, had moved on to St Mary’s School before quitting late last year. The Post also obtained a document started by the school’s alumni that collates testimonials from over 40 students, accusing at least four teachers other than Tripathee of various degrees of molestation, abuse and harassment. While most of the testimonials—29 statements in total—are against Tripathee, six women have accused KC while five have accused Gokul Sharma of sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour in the document. According to one of the ex-students, the testimonials will be handed over to the Forum for Women, Law and Development, and the Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN) to explore legal options. The document describes in graphic detail the abuse many of the girls had to undergo when they were attending Lalitpur Madhyamik. Like KC, numerous allegations of abuse were also levelled against Gokul Sharma, an English teacher who is no longer with the school. Following the Post’s report on Tripathee last month, Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidhyalaya was besieged by nearly a hundred parents and former students, demanding that the school take action. An agreement drawn up between the school and the former students pledged to take reformative action, including classes on what constitutes abuse for both students and teachers, and the hiring of an independent counsellor. Sitaula, the embattled vice-principal, had initially reported to the gathered crowd that Tripathee had been fired, but the Post later discovered that he had been suspended for a week pending a clarification. Sitaula has also been warning current students at the school to not speak to the Post, according to a former student. The Post has been unable to reach current students at the school and so far, all of the women who have contacted the Post have been former students.
- Inaction in sexual harassment allegations against Bhattachan concerns international academics
February 18, 2019
The Britain-Nepal Academic Council has issued a statement raising concerns about the lack of investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against retired Tribhuvan University lecturer Krishna Bahadur Bhattachan.
“The Britain-Nepal Academic Council (BNAC) is deeply concerned to hear about the lack of any investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct levelled against a leading retired academic in Tribhuvan University, and about the lack of appropriate internal mechanisms of redress within the university,” the statement read. The BNAC, founded in 2000 at the University of Oxford, is an umbrella group of senior British and Nepali academics based in the United Kingdom. Speaking to the Post, TU Rector Sudha Tripathi said she was unaware of the BNAC statement but agreed that there was the need for a special mechanism to deal with these concerns. The department, however, came to the conclusion that it was up to the university administration to take any further steps since Bhattachan had retired from the university in 2015.
- TU Assistant Dean Accused of making ‘sexual advances at female student’ suspended
February 19, 2019
An emergency meeting of the Executive Council of Tribhuvan University has suspended Baubalal Sah, Assistant Dean at the Faculty of Education, Tribhuvan University, for allegedly misbehaving with a female student. The meeting suspended Sah from the post of Assistant Dean on condition that he cannot carry out any work of the university saying his “condemnable act” has tarnished the image of the university. Sah is in police custody for his alleged involvement in groping a female student.
- Silent students
February 20, 2019
It has been almost three weeks since Tribhuvan University lecturer Krishna Bhattachan was accused of sexual harassment by two of his former students. And it did not end with the two of them. An investigation led by this paper found that Bhattachan, an influential academic and indigenous rights activist, had harassed a number of students from the university’s Department of Sociology for years. The allegations against Bhattachan ranged from his making lewd remarks to inappropriately touching them during advising sessions at his residence. Despite indulging in such a despicable act, no action has been taken against him yet. When probed why the university had failed to do so, Vice-Chancellor Tirtha Raj Khaniya repeatedly remarked how ‘his hands were tied’ since the accused lecturer was no longer associated with the institution. While this excuse is certainly not the most impressive one, it is disheartening to note that none of the student wing organisations has taken any initiative to further this cause.
Author: Pratik Gurung
Photo: Sushma Bhatta