Time’s Up: Chinmayi takes to Twitter to write a scathing thread on sexual harassment

The singer wrote how people said the woman who sang ‘Mayya Mayya’ could not file a case against sexual harassment.
Time’s Up: Chinmayi takes to Twitter to write a scathing thread on sexual harassment
Time’s Up: Chinmayi takes to Twitter to write a scathing thread on sexual harassment
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A fresh wave of the #MeToo campaign is sweeping across Twitter in India, with several women coming forward to call out men – many of whom hold or once held powerful positions in the world of arts, comedy and media houses – who sexually harassed them. Singer Chinmayi Sripaada too took to social media to detail the abuse she has had to face.

“It is very, very tough for women to remember accounts of when they were touched inappropriately; a ‘harmless’ hug that looks OK but makes them alone cringe,” she began. In her thread, the singer recounted the multiple instances of harassment, abuse and threats she’s been subjected to from her early childhood.

“I was 8, maybe 9. I was sleeping. My mom was supervising a recording session for her documentary. Felt a man in priestly robes feel up my privates and I woke up. Told her ‘that uncle is bad’. This was in the studio called Santhome Communications that still exists,” she tweeted about her early experience with sexual abuse.

Recollecting harassment she’s faced from ‘respectable’ elderly men in supposedly ‘safe’ places, she spoke about how an elderly man pinched her thighs throughout a concert during the December Music Festival in Chennai. She was 10 or 11 at the time, she recalls.

She moves on to speak about a horrific experience, when an older and very respected man called her to his office and when the was least suspecting it hugged and felt her up from behind. The incident was all the more confusing as the man had never shown such behaviour before, she tweets.

However, what’s more disturbing was the instinct to dismiss the behaviour of the said person and internalise the experience, never speaking about it again.

The singer also spoke about the first ever complaint she filed after online harassment from people and threats to disrupt her concerts and public events which lasted 3 years. For this too, she faced backlash from Twittter which ranged from slut shaming to acid attack threats, she recalls.

“Two popular women writers and activists said ‘A woman who sings Mayya Mayya cannot file case on harassment’. More men and other women cheered these women on. This was in support of men who said they ll throw acid on my face or that I need to be raped to be taught a lesson,” she wrote.

She also accused Prashanth, who reviews movies on YouTube, of harassment.

“One of the successful ‘Youtube’ reviewers now - Prashanth offered to ‘support’ me and immediately launched into, ‘Dont worry sweetheart/darling I will Support you.’ Made me cringe; I deleted the DMs & said ‘Dont call me sweetheart’. He launched into a hate campaign right after,” she tweeted.

Soon after her tweets, more women began calling out Prashanth for his behaviour. One woman wrote how he responded calling her his 'longtime love' right after she asked him how his wife was.

The movement gained steam once again on Thursday after a Twitter user called out comedian Utsav Chakraborty for sexual harassment. Soon after she tweeted, several other women wrote to her, accusing Utsav of sexual misconduct.

On Friday, several women from journalism circles too began naming and shaming alleged harassers, including Anurag Verma, former trends editor at Huffpost India, Business Standard journalist Mayank Jain, Gautam Adhikari former Editor-in-Chief of DNA Mumbai, novelist Kiran Nagarkar and cultural critic Sadanand Menon. The names and numbers go up with each hour every day.

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