Pallavi Gogoi says relationship with MJ Akbar not consensual; vows to continue to speak truth

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New Delhi | November 3, 2018 4:04 PM

US-based journalist Pallavi Gogoi, who has accused M J Akbar of raping her while working under him in India, has dismissed his claims that it was a "consensual relationship."

M J Akbar, me too movement, me too movement in indiaM J Akbar (IE)

US-based journalist Pallavi Gogoi, who has accused M J Akbar of raping her while working under him in India, has dismissed his claims that it was a “consensual relationship”, saying a relationship based on “coercion and abuse of power” is not consensual.

Gogoi, the chief business editor of National Public Radio (NPR), a Washington-based American media organisation, took to Twitter and said she stands by every word in her published account in The Washington Post.

She said that she would continue to speak her 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.

Akbar, 67, who recently resigned as junior foreign minister following a spate of #MeToo allegations, on Friday denied accusations of rape by Gogoi who, in her article, recounted the “most painful memories” of her life and said she was in “shreds — emotionally, physically, mentally”.

In a statement, he said: “Somewhere around 1994, Ms Pallavi Gogoi and I entered into a consensual relationship that spanned several months”.

“This relationship (with Gogoi) 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,” Akbar said.

In a separate statement, his wife Mallika Akbar also dismissed Gogoi’s accusations, made in a Washington Post article Friday, as a “lie”.

Mallika admitted she knew about the relationship between Akbar and Pallavi and the relationship caused unhappiness and discord in her family.

Responding to Akbar’s claims, Gogoi said: “yesterday, The Washington Post published my first-hand account of being physically, verbally and sexually assaulted by M.J. Akbar. I was in my early 20s, an aspiring journalist, and an employee at the newspaper he led”.

She said that rather than taking responsibility, “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,” Gogoi said in the statement.

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