Two days after Homegrown co-founder Varun Patra was accused of sexual assault by an anonymous survivor, the organisation issued a statement saying that he has stepped down from his position.
The allegations that surfaced on Thursday, 3 January, accused Patra of secretly recording the audio of their sexual encounter and of going against the survivor’s consent during the act.
The details of the incident, and screenshots where Patra admitted to the actions were posted by Instagram user Priyanka Paul on behalf of the survivor.
In her account, the survivor wrote that the incident happened on 11 November, but it took her some time to speak about it and “not feel ashamed” of what had happened.
She recounts the night and says, “Towards the end of the night, we went to my room and had sex, in the middle of which he felt the need to stick his fingers in my ass. I told him not to do it, and he did it anyway, 3 times. I brushed it off as miscommunication but I shouldn't have.”
She further recalls that she saw Patra stop an audio recording on his phone. In her account, the survivor wrote:
“Right after we were finished, I saw him stop a recording on his phone... and he admitted to the fact that he recorded us having sex, without my consent.”
According to the account, Patra admitted to recording women while indulging in sexual activities after the #MeToo accusations.
When confronted on text by the survivor, he said he did it in order to “protect” himself from being wrongly accused of sexual misconduct.
“He admitted to me that he has recorded other women in secret,” the survivor wrote.
Calling Patra’s image of a progressive feminist “laughable”, the survivor wrote that he doesn’t deserve to hold the place he holds in society.
“Varun absolutely does not deserve to hold the position he currently holds, he doesn’t deserve to be in the same space as women who have altered the way India views sex, and he most definitely shouldn’t be getting a shout out for uplifting women’s voices and promoting women having powerful positions in the media world,” she wrote.
The survivor also wrote that she thought of Patra as one of the few guys who understood women’s issues before the incident happened and that later she realised he just excels at the "feminist woke boy lingo".
Patra Issues Clarification
Reacting to the allegations, Varun Patra, in a Facebook post, said that he never audio recorded the act to harm anyone physically or mentally, but only did it in fear of being wrongly accused.
"“I could not and would never do such a thing with the intention of harming somebody physically or mentally. It was only when she caught me that I understood the magnitude of my actions in violating somebody’s privacy. This is why I have done everything I could to apologise for any behaviour which caused harm unwittingly even though my intentions were not to hurt.” " - Varun Patra wrote in a Facebook post
He, however, said that he understands what he did was wrong and that he can only take responsibility for his “hasty” decision now.
"“I was extremely anxious and fearful that any sexual activity, irrespective of consent, could be used against me.”" - Varun Patra said in a Facebook post
Patra also responded to another accusation on his Facebook post, of refusing protection during sex. Patra denied the claims.
Scribe Accuses Patra of Inappropriate Behaviour
After the allegations, Neha Mathews, a journalist, also tweeted on Patra’s behaviour she and her male friend encountered once.
“I honestly expected nothing from a man who thinks it's okay to stuff his face in my hair and stub his cigarette on my friend when he's drunk,” Mathews tweeted.
I honestly expected nothing from a man who thinks it's okay to stuff his face in my hair and stub his cigarette on my friend when he's drunk. @VarunPatra, an easy way to "protect" yourself from #MeToo would have been to understand consent. https://t.co/bK6KXeA4BN— Neha Mathews (@Neha_Mathews_) January 3, 2019
This comes after multiple cases of sexual misconduct were called out under the MeToo movement in India and many talking in support of it initially also faced accusations.
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