I can’t & won’t apologise for holding organisations & powerful men to account over sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct. Being outspoken on this issue might seem like it’s not the way to do things but the issue runs so deep throughout society that it needs a robust response.
When I spoke up about #metoo I was told by racists that I shouldn’t unless I addressed misogyny & sexual exploitation within Muslim/Asian communities.
Similarly when I speak up about misogyny & sexual harassment within Muslim communities I am told by a small number, that I should only do so if I also complain about Islamophobia or racism within wider society.
I’m not interested in this type of whataboutery. There are times to be public & vocal about certain issues & incidents. There are other times when it is more appropriate to deal with things privately. Public incidents however deserve a public response & a call for transparency.
There is a huge lack of understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace & social settings across the board in society. It’s dressed up & justifies in different ways too, but all boils down to the same underlying issue of regarding women as secondary / lesser
Woman can also hold misogynistic views or practices as it is a structural systemic issue, so female representation does not necessarily mean that an organisation will understand or know how to safeguard against sexual harassment/ behaviour in the workplace.
Further I raise these issues not to bring down organisations or hold “trial by social media” but rather to illicit action. And to give (if needed/not already being done) impetus to orgs to start implementing appropriate policies, procedures & practices & training.
Speaking up about sexual harassment & misconduct also raises awareness for others who might not get it or who have experienced it & not felt comfortable to talk about their experiences. Let’s not hide away from the fact that it is endemic throughout society. Not just in pockets.
Similarly high profile cases such as those in the #metoo movement or allegations against Nouman Ali Khan & TARIQ Ramadan highlight how little understanding there is or sexual abuse & violence & how difficult it is for some to get to grips with fact that some powerful men abuse
But it is not just some powerful men in public positions that abuse it can be uncles, fathers, grandfathers, husbands etc. Until we speak out more about these issues, raise awareness of the different ways sexual violence manifests across cultures, then it will remain hidden.
Speaking up is not easy. Putting your above the parapet has consequences. However leaders must do speak out in the right way, irrespective of being criticised & not being liked. So that’s why I took the considered decision to call for accountability from British Muslim TV.
Putting your *head* above the parapet (sorry for the typos and missing words!)