Here are some of the commonly used arguments and why they do not hold any water.

8 things were tired of hearing in defence of TN Governor patting journos cheekCourtesy: Lakshmi Subramanian/Twitter
news Blog Friday, April 20, 2018 - 16:27

Much has been said about the journalist who slammed Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit for patting her cheek at a press meet. Taking to Twitter, Lakshmi Subramanian of The Week had objected to the Governor’s unprofessional behaviour at the event.

While several journalists – men and women – have come out in support of Lakshmi, there are many who feel the incident was "exaggerated" and that the journalist had "overreacted."

Here are some of the commonly used arguments and why they do not hold any water.

1. 'Grandfatherly touch': Consent is fairly simple to understand if one does not try to muddle things up deliberately. You cannot touch a woman without her consenting to it, especially a woman who does not know you. It does not matter if you were being fatherly or brotherly or grandfatherly. What YOU think about it DOES NOT MATTER. This is what the law says as well.

2. 'Journalist overreacting': This was a woman who was doing her job. Women are often touched inappropriately at the workplace by men who think they are 'just being friendly'. Previously, Vijayabaskar, the TN Health Minister, had called a woman journalist 'beautiful' to evade her questions. Apologists had justified his act at the time, too. The Governor, as well, chose not to answer questions but to behave in a 'grandfatherly' way. We don't need your patronising and unasked for 'affection'. Our job is to ask questions. Either answer or say 'No comments.'

3. 'Feminists are killing human emotions': Breaking news! Women are human, too. Our emotions matter. Especially when it's our space which has been violated. You can use your hands to express human emotions on your own body, thank you very much. Yes, there are women who disagree with Lakshmi on this. They are welcome not to object if such a thing happens to them in their professional space.

4. 'He's old, he's a grandfather!': This incident happened at a press meet. Why was the press meet called? Because the Governor's role in the sex for cash university scandal is being examined. Ironically, the opposition is now demanding to know why Nirmala Devi, the professor, said, "Governor thaatha illa", hinting that the Governor was not really so old that he cannot have sex. It's amazing how long a rope we give men.

5. 'He touched her cheeks! How can that be harassment?': You don't get to decide which parts of her body a woman should be okay with you touching without her permission. You don't get to decide that we should object only if you touch our breasts. It is our body, we make that call. Especially when you are a man we don't know AT ALL.

6. 'So now we can't even shake hands with women journos': If that's your interpretation and you don't want to shake hands with us, we're fine. Really, none of us will die.

7. 'But...grandfatherly touch?': The NCRB data unfailingly shows every time that acts of sexual violence against women and children are committed mostly within the family circles. This is why it also remains such a highly under-reported crime. We have enough to deal with from our REAL uncles, grandfathers, brothers, and fathers. So, please don't appoint yourself as uncle, grandfather, brother, and father for us.

8. 'But women in media sleep around for work anyway': SVe Shekher has deleted the offensive post he shared but there are several who have this question. If women in any industry are forced to sleep around for work, it's called sexual harassment at the workplace. We even have a law.  You cannot justify creepy behaviour by saying "Oh you are getting abused anyway." This should be obvious but there are too many dense people in this world, so it's necessary to spell it out.

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