In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against the Hollywood actor Harvey Weinstein, which have rocked the industry, some bhikkhuni teachers are speaking out against sexual harassment and violence against women.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Kolkata Film Festival on Tuesday, Bapat Suresh, a teacher in the Palikeya Shastra Bharati, spoke out against the sexual violence he had witnessed, while other teachers have been sharing their own experiences.
“I did not say anything.
I was just crying.
I wanted to cry.
I didn’t know anything.
It was just that I felt like my teacher was being raped,” he told the audience.”
When you don’t speak, people are afraid to talk.
They are scared to say anything.”
Bapat’s teacher, a member of the Bapathika Brahmin community, said that in his community, sexual harassment is commonplace.
“The women who are in our community are the victims.
They don’t even know that there are these bhokshis who are taking care of their children,” he said.
Bapats teacher said he was not aware of the prevalence of rape and sexual violence in the society, adding that some of his fellow teachers were not aware about the situation.
“Many of them were just afraid to speak up.
They did not know how to handle this situation,” he added.”
This is the first time I am speaking out.
I am not ashamed to say that I am a victim of sexual harassment,” said Sureshwak, who was assaulted by Weinstein in the early 1990s, and was a student at the Palikesha Academy of Arts and Culture, in Kolkatta.”
It is very difficult for women in our society to say no.
I have been raped many times.
I think the only thing I have ever asked for is not to speak about it,” he continued.
Sureshwack also spoke of his own personal experience of sexual violence.
“I have a friend who was molested by Weinstein.
She was 14 years old and was married to a man of a different caste.
I saw her cry.
When she asked him to stop, he refused.
I remember being very angry with him,” he explained.