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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

As #MeToo Finally Hits India, I Question The Sorry-But-Not-Really Attitude Of Sexual Harassers

  • IWB Post
  •  October 8, 2018

What is an apology? Well, let me tell you by detailing what it is not. You are not saying sorry if you give lame reasons and more or less deny that you did what you did of your own free will. If you felt that saying sorry was more a responsibility than something that was triggered by your own conscience than it is nowhere near being an apology. And that, my friends, is how the men, outed by women as sexual harassers in the wake of #MeToo, are responding.

Many of you would disagree with me when I say that just an apology, years after they sexually harassed those women, is not enough. What is more unsettling is the fact that these so-called apologies are more like them justifying what they did. It’s like “You called out my shameful act publicly, I kinda apologized, matter closed.”

Let’s start with the Chetan Bhagat, who apologized on Facebook to the woman who accused him of sexually harassing her years ago.

#MeToo

First thing, he said that all this happened a few years ago. Why didn’t he feel the need to honestly sort it then? Why now, well probably because it has become a public spectacle and is going viral.

https://www.facebook.com/chetanbhagat.fanpage/posts/10156765769531602

And it doesn’t help that he mentions his wife time and again in the message, trying to present himself as an honest man who shared everything with his wife first and apologized to her before anything else. Not to mention ambiguous sentences like “The screenshots are of course real, and I am sorry if you felt they were wrong”- felt? So, he means that as per him he did nothing wrong, just the opposite party took offense? Oh, poor Chetan!

Further justifying (nope, not apologizing), he went on to say how “Maybe I was going through a phase, maybe these things just happen.” And what angers me more is the fact that people are lauding his half-baked attempts at a poorly written *cough* ‘apology.’ Well, that’s a topic of another discussion.

What irks me next is actor Rajat Kapoor’s apology where he starts off by saying how he tried to be a decent man all his life, but ‘IF’ (yep, that big fat ‘if) he somehow ‘slipped’ and caused pain, then he extends his apologies.

Rajat Kapoor on Twitter

All my life I have tried to be a decent man, to do the right thing. If however, I have slipped and through my actions or words caused pain or hurt or trauma to absolutely anybody, please accept my apology.

His “if” means that he is not fully acknowledging what he did. Again, no apology, just a man with a ‘big’ heart, dishing out fake apologies to anyone who is willing to accept it. Well, we are not and I fervently hope neither is the victim.

And the list does not end here. Whether it is Meghnad Bose, a reporter at The Quint, who apologizes to a long list of women for his misconduct but also simultaneously points out that he either stopped harassing the victim in time or didn’t really do anything to start with.

Meghnad Bose on Twitter

I am sorry. This is my unconditional apology. I am really, really sorry.

So, the question is why the apology, really, if you did nothing wrong?

Same goes with director Anurag Kashyap and Vikram Motwane who had done everything in their power to protect director Vikas Bahl, who sexually assaulted a woman crew member during the promotional tour of the film Bombay Velvet. He insisted on dropping the said woman to her hotel room, pretended to pass out drunk on her bed, only to masturbate on her later when she resisted his advances.

Appalled by this revelation? Me too, but as now the matter is out in the open, Kashyap, following the apology patterns of his ‘bros’ in the industry, is blaming the advice he received from people on the matter, saying that the industry is ill-equipped to handle such matters.

Anurag Kashyap on Twitter

My statement in light of the recent HuffPost article and breaking up of Phantom . There are two pages..

But what about your own conscience Mr. Kashyap, we hope that it was intact. Your lengthy message does little to undo the fact that you backed a sexual harasser and delayed in calling out Vikas Bahl.

Vikramaditya Motwane on Twitter

https://t.co/3kQlzhCje6

Same goes for Motwane, as he aptly mentions that Bahl has no memory of the incident. Wow, right? Such veiled apologies, that more or less are posing the victim as someone who is presenting a fake story.

What it shows is that men don’t know what damage their ‘innocent’ gestures do, when they cross the line, and what sexual harassment is. You don’t ‘slip’, ‘go through a phase’, misbehave because you are drunk or just assume that a girl wants you to be creepy- these men, and more like them out there, did what they did because they were sure they would get away with it. They were certain that the women they harassed would never dare to share what they went through. Well, beaten by their own overconfidence, weren’t they? A revolution is coming people and it ain’t gonna stop here.

 

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