On Friday, MJ Akbar responded to the accusation of rape by the US-based journalist saying it was a “consensual relationship.”

Relationship based on coercion is not consensual Pallavi Gogoi responds to MJ Akbar
news Sexual Assault Saturday, November 03, 2018 - 18:14

A day after former minister MJ Akbar responded to a rape accusation from journalist Pallavi Gogoi by saying they had a “consensual relationship,” Pallavi responded in a tweet on Saturday saying, “A relationship based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual.”

"Rather than taking responsibility for his abuse of me and his serial predation of other young women who have courageously come forward, Akbar has insisted - just like other infamous serial sexual abusers of women - that the relationship was consensual. It was not. A relationship that is based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual. I stand by every word in my published account. I will continue to speak my truth so that other women who have been sexually assaulted by him know it is okay for them to come forward and speak their truth too."

On Thursday, Pallavi, the chief business editor of NPR, wrote a first-person account in The Washington Post alleging that Akbar had raped her when she was an employee at the Asian Age 23 years ago.

In response to the allegation, Akbar told ANI on Friday that the two had shared a “consensual relationship.”

"Somewhere around 1994, Ms Pallavi Gogai and I entered into a consensual relationship that spanned several months. The relationship gave rise to talk and would later cause significant strife in my home life as well. This consensual relationship ended, perhaps not on the best note," according to his statement.

The former junior minister of external affairs had to step down from his position after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and assault by him surfaced as a result of the Me Too movement.

Akbar claimed that several former co-workers who knew both him and Gogoi at the time are ready to testify against Gogoi’s allegations. “At no stage, did the behaviour of Ms Pallavi Gogoi, give any one of them the impression that she was working under, or in any way, under duress,” read his statement.

In a separate statement on Friday, Akbar’s wife Mallika Akbar said she had been silent through all the accusations against her husband so far, but the latest allegation of rape by Pallavi prompted her to respond. Mallika corroborated her husband's version that Akbar’s past relationship with Pallavi was consensual.

"More than 20 years ago, Pallavi Gogoi caused unhappiness and discord in our home. I learned of her and my husband's involvement through her late night calls and her public display of affection in my presence. In her flaunting the relationship, she caused anguish and hurt to my entire family,” Mallika said in her statement to ANI.

Mallika stated that Tushita Patel and Pallavi were often at their home “happily drinking and dining with us. Neither carried the haunted look of victims of sexual assault. I don't know Pallavi's reasons for telling this lie but a lie it is.” Tushita, a former journalist, has also shared a Me Too story involving MJ Akbar, writing that he once opened a hotel room door wearing only his underwear.

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