"Rutuja and I received an overwhelming response on social media with people eager to help those in need. We are trying to connect people to lawyers--for addressing their legal concerns."
India’s own revolution to name molesters publicly to bring justice to the survivors or at least shame them is fast gaining momentum. Tagged as #MeTooIndia or #TimesUp, this movement is setting survivors of sexual abuse free from their horrible experiences and helping them gather support in their fight.
Two lawyers, Veera Mahuli from Delhi, and Rutuja Shinde from Mumbai, are taking this revolution ahead.
Naming the perpetrator publicly could be the first step to achieving justice and understandably so. For so many years, names are kept a secret either because the survivor was not ready to share their experience with the world or because the power or position of the perpetrator was intimidating.
However, with over 50 names of molesters and harassers coming out on Twitter within a week, there also comes a need for organising the efforts in a right manner. We cannot leave this movement at a primary stage.
This is where lawyers like Veera and Rutuja have extended their expertise to help those in need.
Speaking to The Better India, Veera said, “A lot of people have been questioning the credibility and justification of the movement, which came about precisely because of the lack of trust these women had in law enforcement. While it is important for their stories to be heard, I realised that they might be grappling with a lot of legal questions.”
And they are not alone.
Rutuja and Veera have collaborated with other lawyers too. However, to make things easier for you and ensure that you are connected to the right experts, they are facilitating advice through the lawyers in their respective cities. Here is the entire list of lawyers who have volunteered to help.
“Rutuja and I received an overwhelming response on social media with people eager to help those in need. We are trying to connect people to lawyers–for addressing their legal concerns such as what action they can take, what action can be taken against them, what constitutes a sexual offence under the law and listen to them if nothing else. The idea is to create a strong support community of women and men alike.”
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The two are also working on a list of lawyers who will be willing to offer services in any capacity along with compiling a document on legal information regarding sexual harassment and offences.
If you are a survivor and wish to take legal action against your harasser(s), these lawyers will offer you pro bono legal advice.
Here are the three ways they can help you:
1. Contact either of the lawyers if you have any questions about how to file an official complaint or FIR against your harasser(s). The legal experts will offer advice on the same and can also connect you with lawyers who can take your case forward.
2. Speaking to The Better India, Rutuja said, “As I have mentioned on social media, I am open to taking cases about sexual harassment at workplaces. I can advice you on how to file complaints and where to file them.”
3. In case you are contacted by your harasser who you called out publicly, and they have threatened you about a defamation case, Rutuja and Veera can help you take further steps.
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Rutuja Shinde has been practising civil law in the Bombay High Court for the past two years. Write to her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get in touch with Veera Mahuli, send her a direct message on her Twitter handle: @veeramahuli.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)