#MeToo: Pallavi Gogoi Maintains Stand, Says MJ Akbar ‘Just Like Other Serial Sexual Abusers’
“A relationship that is based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual,” said Gogoi.
Pallavi Gogoi, the editor of National Public Radio (NPR) who had alleged that former minister MJ Akbar had raped her in a Washington Post article shared in a tweet late on Friday announcing that she stood by her statement. Gogoi’s response came after Akbar and his wife Mallika denied these allegations and said that Akbar and Gogoi were in a “consensual relationship” two decades ago, when Gogoi was Akbar’s junior at The Asian Age.
Gogoi said, “Rather than take responsibility for his abuse of me and his serial predation of other young women who have courageously come forward, Akbar has insisted — just like other infamous serial sexual abusers of women — that the relationship was consensual.” She added, “A relationship that is based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual. I stand by every word in my published account.”
Earlier, Akbar had given a statement to the Asian News International (ANI) in which he noted, “Somewhere around 1994, Ms PallaviGogoi and I entered into a consensual relationship that spanned several months. This relationship gave rise to talk and would later cause strife in my home life as well. This consensual relationship ended, perhaps not on best note.”
He had also said, “People who worked with me and knew both of us have indicated that they would be happy to bear testimony to what is stated above and, at no stage, did the behaviour of Pallavi Gogoi give any one of them the impression that she was working under duress.”
Akbar’s wife, Mallika who had so far maintained silence on myriad accusations of sexual misconduct that surrounded the journalist-turned-politician, finally broke her silence on the subject. Reiterating that Akbar and Gogoi were in a relationship, Mallika said in astatement, “I learnt about their involvement through her late-night phone calls and her public display of affection in my presence. I had confronted my husband at the time and he decided to prioritize his family.”
Around 20 women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual inappropriateness, with journalist Priya Ramani leading the fray. Akbar has filed a case of criminal defamation against Ramani while denying that the allegations against him were “false and fabricated”.