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Stop Online Abuse of Writer-activist Meena Kandasamy

Stop Online Abuse of Writer-activist Meena Kandasamy

The Network of Women in Media, India strongly condemns the targeting and harassment of writer-activist Dr Meena Kandasamy.

Meena Kandasamy is an internationally acclaimed writer of poetry, fiction and narrative non-fiction. She has consistently raised her voice against fascist forces, religious intolerance, and caste violence in her home state of Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. She is frequently a target of vitriol in online spaces, but over the past few days, the harassment, ugly as it is, now includes character assassination as well.

The attacks began after a piece on social reformer and Dravidian ideologue Periyar EV Ramasamy, in which she was quoted, met with criticism from certain commentators. Meena defended the piece and her right to be featured in it, enumerating her literary accomplishments. In response, aside from relentless trolling, some sections have sought to sully her reputation and muddy the waters by resorting to an attack on her character. She has been accused of misleading people about her caste and appropriating the struggles of Dalits in the process. However, in her own writings she has made it clear that she is the product of an inter-caste union between a man from the Andi Pandaram community, classified as MBC in Tamil Nadu, and a woman from an OBC community.

Men’s Rights Activists have accused her of filing a false dowry harassment case against her ex-husband, and of trying to ‘extort’ him in order to drop the case. They have also accused Meena of delaying the case for six years. A perusal of the case status from 2014 to the present shows that the details of the case have been distorted. Such allegations and character assassination are some of the oldest tricks deployed to silence the voices of women.

The most egregious of accusations against Meena are that as a feminist she could not have been in an abusive marriage, and if she was in such a marriage, she could not be a feminist. Around the world, survivors of intimate partner violence know this to not only be untrue but to be an actively harmful insinuation that holds women in abusive circumstances back from speaking out and seeking help. As feminists we fight daily against our oppression as well as against our own social conditioning. Too many of us are survivors of physical and sexual violence. To deride Meena’s feminism or experience of violence, is to indulge in victim-blaming and shaming in such a way as to create yet another barrier in the path of those seeking to escape violent relationships.

Meena’s ideas and arguments should be countered with ideas and arguments. To harass, troll and character assassinate a woman for speaking her mind is to seek to silence her and the inconvenient truths she may speak.

The NWMI stands in solidarity with Meena and, as it has in the past, demands that social media platforms create more safeguards to protect users, especially women and vulnerable persons, from unchecked abuse.

The Network of Women in Media, India

January 1, 2021

View Comments (2)
  • You are quick to point out that people are trolling Kandasamy.

    Reading her tweet it sounds more like an invitation to gain infamy. She was not defending her piece, she was launching a hateful communal attack with her reference to ‘brahmin dicks’ in response to some one referring to her merely as ‘writer-activist’ in quotes.

    It was either that she was raising this to get more circulation which was probably tanking anyway or to get into politics. People are tired of the same nonsense from thuggish authors like her and are not going to tolerate thugs easily. Having started this battle, she now wants to seek victimhood.

    She should learn to give respect on social media to expect to be treated with respect.

  • Meena is known for her good work… btu she gets very selective in her interpretations and is very abusive and spews hatred and vile comments about select communities and even hindu religion…..she with her limited understanding of Hindu ethos ofthis country is part of a HATE filled legacy that may go away in 50-75 years …….

    india never survived on hate.. all reform movement has started as a change from within….. and positive things were done to erase the pain from negave behaviours…. be it ramanuja or basava or Chaitanya or any caste reform movements….

    Any changethat was abusive and destructive and hate filled for hinduism has emanated from abhrahamic faiths ….. including the sati reform of Raja Ram mohan roy.

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