A+| A| A-

How to Believe Women

Women are speaking out to reclaim their experiences, so far understood only through the language of patriarchy.

Two women have had to repeatedly recount their experiences of sexual assault to the world last week. In the United States (US), Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology spoke out about Supreme Court nominee Brett M Kavanaugh, testifying that he had assaulted her when they were both teenagers in 1982. In Mumbai, actress Tanushree Dutta spoke to a television channel about being harassed by actor Nana Patekar on a filmset in 2008 and of consequently being bullied out of the film industry.

The importance of these testimonies goes beyond the violence of specific harassers. They fit into a larger pattern that many women are recognising in the wake of the #MeToo movement; a pattern where everyday structures and camaraderie work to protect and embolden sexual harassers and normalise harassment. Despite being a grave offence, sexual harassment is not an exceptional act. It is merely the manifestation of the everyday power and impunity that men hold. A drunk high-school teenage boy and an actor with political clout, both have shocking impunity.

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 9th Oct, 2018


(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Biden’s policy of the “return to the normal” would be inadequate to decisively defeat Trumpism.

*/ */

Only a generous award by the Fifteenth Finance Commission can restore fiscal balance.

*/ */

The assessment of the new military alliance should be informed by its implications for Indian armed forces.

The fiscal stimulus is too little to have any major impact on the economy.

The new alliance is reconfigured around the prospect of democratic politics, but its realisation may face challenges.

A damning critique does not allow India to remain self-complacent on the economic and health fronts.


The dignity of public institutions depends on the practice of constitutional ideals.

The NDA government’s record in controlling hunger is dismal despite rising stocks of cereal.


Caste complacency of the ruling combination necessarily deflects attention from critical self-evaluation.

Rape atrocities tragically suggest that justice is in dire need of egalitarian commitment by every citizen.

Back to Top