Fiery 'name and shame' Facebook campaign fizzles out

India

08 Nov 2017

Raya Sarkar and vigilante justice on social media

It all started on October 23 when Raya Sarkar, a 24-year-old California-based law student, put up a post on Facebook accusing two professors of Jadavpur University of sexual harassment.

She also invited other victims of campus sexual abuse to name their predators.

Sarkar's post spread like wildfire igniting the 'name and shame' debate. However, it got too big for its own good. Here's how.

Reasons

A disclaimer for new and vulnerable students

A disclaimer for new and vulnerable students

Inspired by the viral #metoo campaign, Sarkar's list aimed to shift the focus on #himtoo by publicly naming the harassers.

According to her, it was created as a disclaimer for new and vulnerable students, informing them of the people to be wary of.

The crowdsourced list was shared on Facebook over 1,000 times, highlighting the high incidences of sexual violence on Indian campuses.

Incomplete information

The list names harassers but leaves out other important details

Sarkar claims that the list is backed by first-hand records and that she has personally communicated with every victim.

The document names the accused professors, the institutes they have been associated with and the number of victims who have complained against them.

It however misses out on other important details such as the nature of the complaint and the year of the alleged incident.

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Details

Over 60 professors including Partha Chatterjee named

Over 60 professors were named in the list. While some of them have had official complaints previously lodged against them, most have no such history.

None of those named have commented on the issue yet except for Partha Chatterjee, a historian whose name appeared twice on the list. He inquired about the nature of the allegation against him but was not given any details.

Emergency exit

Raya Sarkar deactivates her Facebook account, deletes the original list

By replying appropriately to Chatterjee, Sarkar could have also silenced the Kafila feminists and everyone else questioning the legitimacy of her seeking vigilante justice.

Her response, however, suggests that she might have bitten a lot more than she can chew.

Overwhelmed, she has deactivated her Facebook account, deleted the original list and handed it over to someone else, reaffirming the worst allegations against her.

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