24 year old law student, Raya Sarkar, has published a list of over 50 Indian professors, accusing them of sexual harassment. The list was published on Facebook and received over 1,000 shares. The professors included were named alongside their university affiliations, although all details of the allegations against them and the accusers were omitted. Whilst some of the men featured on the list had had complaints filed against them, there were no legal charges against the majority of the professors that were named.
Sarkar’s list has faced heavy criticism from feminists worldwide, with many claiming that the questionable nature of the list and lack of evidence to substantiate it delegitimizes the cause of women with more solidified cases. As Sarkar’s list remains unverified, many have argued that it discredits the plight to fight sexual harassment against women in any circumstance.
So, is outing men in this manner the best way to tackle sexual harassment? We asked female students across the country what they thought:
Lucy, Kent, “I was groped a lot when I went out in first year. Men would take one look at me and think I was some kind of challenge or trophy. It was disgusting. I never thought about getting their names and outing them- I think in that situation it was best to confront them directly at the time.”
Kathryn, Swansea, “I think Raya had the right intentions although didn’t go about it in the best way. It would have been better to include exactly what these men were being accused of. I think it would have added necessary weight to her case.”
Glo Gray, Manchester, “The article suggests the fear is of anonymous, unanswerable accusations. Basically, that anyone can accuse anyone. But there has to be a way to share info about abuse outside of the legal system because we know that the majority of this behaviour isn’t addressed by the legal system. It’s so difficult. I personally know of two men who have been investigated by police for assault but nothing came of it, but I know they did it. Both work closely with women who deserve a heads-up about their history. This would have to occur outside of an official process because the official process failed.”
Tia, Kings, “It’s such a tricky one. If men have been assaulting women then I 100% think the women have the right to out them. It warns other women of what they can do and also holds the men accountable. Did Raya do the right thing? I’m not sure. There was so little evidence that it makes it hard to judge.”
D Ezra, Manchster, “Honestly, the best way to deal with sexual assault is however the victim wants to deal with it. They’re the one that gets to decide whether to name the person in question or not.”