Journalist Pallavi Gogoi, who accused former minister MJ Akbar of raping her 1994, on Saturday said she stood by her allegation, a day after he claimed that they shared a “consensual relationship”. On Thursday, Gogoi wrote a first-person article in The Washington Post, alleging that Akbar had raped her when she worked with him at The Asian Age.
“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,” Gogoi tweeted on Saturday. “A relationship that is based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual.”
She said she stood by every word of her account and will continue to speak the truth so that “other women who have been sexually assaulted by him know it is okay for them to come forward and speak their truth too”.
On Friday, the journalist-turned politician said his former co-workers were ready to testify that they never found Gogoi “working under duress” during the time she has accused him of sexually assaulting her. “This consensual relationship ended, perhaps not on best note,” he said in a statement.
MJ Akbar’s wife Mallika Akbar said she had been silent while several women accused her husband of sexual harassment but Gogoi’s article had forced her to “step in with what I know to be true”. “I don’t know Pallavi’s reasons for telling this lie, but a lie it is,” she said.
Over the past month, Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment by at least 17 women journalists. He has rejected all the allegations and has filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, one of the complainants. On October 17, Akbar resigned from his post as minister.