US-based journalist says relationship with Akbar ‘not consensual’, vows to continue speaking truthhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/mj-akbar-us-based-journalist-pallavi-gogoi-dismisses-consensual-relationship-metoo-sexual-allegations-5432687/

US-based journalist says relationship with Akbar ‘not consensual’, vows to continue speaking truth

She said that she would continue to speak her 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.

MJ Akbar recently resigned as junior foreign minister following a spate of sexual harassment allegations in the wake of #MeToo movement. (Express Photo: by Tashi Tobgyal/File)

Dismissing MJ Akbar’s claims of “consensual relationship”, US-based journalist Pallavi Gogoi, who accused the former union minister of raping her while working under him in India, has said that a relationship based on “coercion and abuse of power” is not consensual.

The US-based journalist took to Twitter and said that she stands by every word in her published account in The Washington Post. Gogoi is presently working as the chief business editor of National Public Radio (NPR), a Washington-based American media organisation.

ALSO READ | M J Akbar raped me, says US journalist; he says relationship was consensual

She said that she would continue to speak her 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.”

67-year-old Akbar, who is facing allegations of sexual assault by multiple women, on Friday denied accusations of rape by Gogoi who, in her article, recounted the “most painful memories” of her life and said she was in “shreds — emotionally, physically, mentally”. Akbar recently resigned as junior foreign minister following a spate of sexual harassment allegations in the wake of #MeToo movement. Gogoi’s account is the first to level serious allegations of rape against him.

Akbar in a statement had said: “Somewhere around 1994, Ms Pallavi Gogoi and I entered into a consensual relationship that spanned several months”. “This relationship (with Gogoi) gave rise to talk and would later cause significant strife in my home life as well. This consensual relationship ended, perhaps not on the best note.”

Mallika Akbar, his wife, also dismissed Gogoi’s accusations, made in a Washington Post article Friday, as a “lie”, in a separate statement.

Responding to Akbar’s claims, Gogoi said: “Yesterday, The Washington Post published my first-hand account of being physically, verbally and sexually assaulted by M.J. Akbar. I was in my early 20s, an aspiring journalist, and an employee at the newspaper he led”. She said that rather than taking responsibility, “Akbar has insisted — just like other infamous serial sexual abusers of women — that the relationship was consensual. It was not”.

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“A relationship that is based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual. I stand by every word in my published account. I will continue to speak my 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,” Gogoi said in the statement.