“He can’t be an assaulter because he has always been a feminist with progressive values” can not be the reason for proving allegations against gender-based violence baseless
DISCLAIMER: (Before you start to read this, we want to specify that we are writing this piece considering that the majority of gender-based violence is inflicted upon women. Hence, for better understanding, we will be mentioning men as the perpetrator and women as a survivor. Although, we don’t have any intention of saying that it is only women who are subjected to violence. We are just writing it like this to give a better understanding and reading experience.)
There are times when we might find shocking news of a man, who happens to be a close friend, a respectable human being and an idol for a progressive-feminist man. This man might have been very feminist, extremely conscious and respectful of women, yet there comes out a point where he is being accused of violence by women.
Of the many tangents, the two major tangents for this case will be –
A) The man, who is being accused by a woman, surprisingly comes out as a culprit. All the allegations against him are true.
B) The allegations against the man turns out to be false, and he is not guilty.
Now, both of these cases have an equal chance of being a possibility. But is this fact anywhere mitigated by the values the man has been possessing or the social status the man exercises? Well, let us put some light on this.
Most of the abusers, especially in cases of domestic violence are men who hold a respectable position in society. There have been several cases where celebrities and notable figures have been charged for sexual harassment. A report by the first post is here to name a few of them-
Another example can be of politicians being charged under for rape, and needless to mention the famous case of Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
Now, these were just a few to point out. All these people have been notable figures and are highly respected by society. For most of these cases, it was a shocker to know when they were proven guilty. Apart from this, during the #metoo movement in 2018 in India, there were several testimonies accusing men form different sections of society. Now, they were guilty or not is not for us to decide, but these were respectable, well-known men.
Hence, feminist men can be an abuser, they might have been portraying pseudo feminism or might have had double standards for their definition of feminism and progressive thinking. But, as a society, it is not for us to pass judgements upon. And if we go on to do so, here is what can be the repercussion of this judgement.
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Case 1- Disapproving Allegations against the man just because you think “he can’t do it” because he is a progressive thinker
Think about it from the point of view of a survivor, who has gathered all her strength to come out with her story, perhaps after a good amount of time when the incident took place. Her, being well aware of the fact that the person she is accusing is a powerful person, confronts him and sees, people are not believing her because name and fame are all that matters. This can really demotivate the survivor, and give a wrong impression to other survivors of violence too and might promote the idea of power over justice.
Case 2- The allegations against the man turn out to be false, and women have falsely accused the man
This act certainly is more dangerous as it can tarnish the image of a person entirely and trivialises the efforts made by true survivors in coming with their stories.
What should we do? Well, we have to do nothing else than behave like a rational thinker and intelligent speaker. Passing judgements was never our job, so let’s not make it ours. In such a case, the country has a judicial system who can decide who is at fault. Thumb rule – Innocent Until Proven Guilty. And till the time he is not guilty, he is accused, not charged.
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