Rejecting victimhood: The online speak-out campaign in Kerala against harassment

This is an attempt to narrate the speak-out movement led by the Dalit-Bahujan women in Kerala. It is a social media-based (particularly through Facebook) campaign, that is still ongoing in Kerala, to narrativise the experiences of sexual harassment faced by Dalit-Bahujan women. These attacks had happened in their work place, within friends’ circles and political spaces. Surprisingly, the women faced attack and criticism from their Malayali upper caste and Dalit male friends, who are known for their political activism and progressiveness.  These women used social media as a platform to reveal their experience in order to get support and solidarity from the public. Kerala has never before witnessed such a movement initiated by Dalit-Subaltern women before, and it continues to be widely discussed and debated in social media.

Initially, a Bahujan woman student from the University of Hyderabad posted on Facebook about the slut shaming and rape threats she was subjected to by her friend. Many Dalit women extended their solidarity to her and eventually some other Dalit women also came forward and spoke about similar experiences. A Dalit woman journalist wrote in detail about the sexual harassment she had faced from the Dalit documentary activist Rupesh Kumar, when she was travelling with him to report on the Thoothukudi, Tamilnadu police firing incident. Her Facebook posts were widely shared and sparked off a massive discussion in online spaces. Following this, another woman came out with a statement saying that she was molested by a savarna activist Rejesh Paul when she was a minor. Prominent Dalit feminist and writer Rekha Raj also openly expressed her solidarity and offered legal support to these women. She wrote a detailed note on Facebook regarding the various sexual assaults done by Rejesh Paul and Rupesh Kumar to many Dalit and Bahujan women. Following this, many other women including trans people from all social locations came out with Facebook posts on their experience.

Continue reading at

APC-wide activities: 
« Go back