Raya Sarkar

Raya Sarkar, a 24-year-old law student at the University of California Davis, has posted a crowdsourced list of academics who have been accused of sexual harassment by students on her Facebook page. (Facebook photo) 

Harvey Weinstein has been in the news following a New York Times and New Yorker expose of his alleged sexual misconduct. From actresses Angelina Jolie to Gwyneth Paltrow, dozens of women have come forward to accuse the Hollywood mogul of alleged sexual harassment and assault.

While Priyanka Chopra reacted to the scandal saying, “There are many Harvey Weinsteins in Hollywood,” many in the Bollywood fraternity, like Vidya Balan, Dia Mirza, Kalki Koechlin and Irrfan Khan, too, in some way admitted to this kind of predatory behavior in showbiz.

Now a list of academics accused of assault has created a furor among India’s intellectuals.

Raya Sarkar, 24, a law student at the University of California Davis recently shared a list – which began as a Google spreadsheet – of sexual harassers on her Facebook page, which features the names of more than 70 men in both Indian and foreign universities.

According to Sarkar, reports BuzzFeed, the names on the list are based mostly on first-person accounts from women who were allegedly sexually harassed. In certain cases, where the victim requested anonymity, a friend was nominated to be a go-between. Sarkar said she has collected screenshots of chats, WhatsApp messages, emails, call recordings that corroborate the testimonies of the victims.

Though Sarkar said that hundreds of friends and strangers have messaged her to add their own accounts of alleged sexual abuse and harassment in academia, her post has also faced resistance.

The release of the list has sparked a debate among India's intellectuals. While some believe that it makes vulnerable students wary of what might lie ahead, others argue that it “delegitimizes the long struggle against sexual harassment.”

Sarkar told Buzz Feed that she created the list following the Weinstein scandal and the #metoo campaign, in which women shared their experiences of sexual harassment or assault.

“I took this opportunity to create a list to warn students using firsthand accounts from survivors,” she was quoted as saying by Buzzfeed.

The list, she said, “was not prepared with institutional action in mind, but as a cautionary list for students. The victims themselves must consent to approaching the courts or any ministry.”

The post is no longer available. 

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