my metoo story | with all facts presented — varun patra
WHY DIDN’T I SPEAK UP BEFORE?
But fear of outrage is paralysing and nobody gives you a fair chance. Given the insidious nature of how the narrative was built, I now want to speak my truth, the only truth. There were many parts of the story that weren’t presented factually, crucial aspects suppressed with a view to perpetrate vendetta. My contention here is that the story was not presented with accurate facts despite the publisher having complete knowledge of it since the incident took place.
THE INCIDENT |Nov 12, 2018
I was invited over to X’s house, where I non-consensually audio recorded a consensual sexual engagement with her, because I was scared of any action being misrepresented and used against me. That recording was immediately deleted in front of X and I was named and shamed in public a few months later for the same.
PEOPLE INVOLVED |
1. Varun Patra
2. “X” (The woman I was intimate with); and
3. Priyanka Paul ( The publisher & the person who had knowledge of all the details & published the inaccurate narrative).
WHAT FOLLOWED | Jan 3 2019 — Scroll below to see all facts
A social media takedown with facts misrepresented and important details left out:
1) Intentionally omitted that it was an audio recording, and made for people to believe that it was video and spread a false narrative
2) That I never apologised to or attempted to meet X.
3) X and I spoke for 12 days post the incident on very amicable terms. However, you can read the contradiction in her statement:
“ The moment he left, I called my friend who came over at 2 am to comfort me. I recounted the incident and it was then that my friends told me what happened was sexual misconduct at best, sexual assault at worst. I didn’t want to believe it; I couldn’t even bring myself to say it. It took me 3 days to fully comprehend what happened to me,” — After which X continued to joke with me generally and specifically about the incident — Scroll below.
4) X reached out with a picture of her bare posterior to model on my platform’s semi-nude stretch mark campaign on the 13th day after the incident, knowing that the shoot was to be at my office, where I am present everyday.
However her statement read “ As a person who already has anxiety, this has destroyed me. I can’t go out without feeling like I will bump into him and have a panic attack.”
6) Omitted that the publisher asked my sister to call X
7) Omitted information that they both engaged with my platform and I even after the incident; and
8) My company was being taken down for an act conducted in a personal capacity and yet both the individuals wanted to associate with the platform for personal promotions. — READ ARTICLE HERE
THE PARTIAL IMPACT OF HOW FAR THE INACCURATE INFORMATION SPREAD|Not counting the reach of Instagram & global/local publications that covered the story.
The world then had made its judgment based on what was presented, understandably so, but I can’t live with this deafening silence anymore. I have been deeply aware of my actions for which I took responsibility then, apologized, clarified and resolved, beyond any manner of doubt, all matters with ‘X’. I continue to own up to my actions. I speak up today not for your support, but to present all the facts which were, to my mind, intentionally suppressed.
I know where I was wrong with ‘X’, I immediately apologized, and as my conversations will show, matters were thoroughly resolved with ‘X’. Despite that being the true and correct position, I understand that my act was disrespectful and lacked empathy. This was never an assertion of power as ‘X’ had no relation to my work nor did I have any dominant position over her in any walk of life. The day of the statement and the last few months have made me realise that my impulsive actions have resounding consequences and people I love are the collateral damage. I can no longer take others for granted and act on my will without sensitivity and thought. It was a terrible lapse in judgement to have audio recorded a moment of intimacy to try and safeguard myself, while not understanding how it could have made her feel.
In today’s world you are ‘Guilty until proven innocent.’ There is a palpable fear. Irrational maybe, but real nonetheless.
You could argue that the fear is not justified given the fear that women live with day in and out. I understand that. I have been raised by two women. Perhaps you see it as irrational and I cannot explain it. But I will say that given my work and a lack of social life, I was flattered when a woman was pursuing me. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have slept with a woman I didn’t know. We are adjusting to a new world with years of conditioning, and the best of us succumb. My fear was caused by a specific incident early last year combined with the powerful #metoo movement — individuals I may have known or interacted with, their names were being taken in the public domain. In an unintended consequence, I was scared and anxious that any action if misunderstood could falsely implicate me in a scenario like this — the irony.
But my life and my family’s has been irreversibly damaged. A narrative leaving out key details, context and not presenting all the information is equally misleading and dangerous. I have had the social media lynch mob terrorise my family, my colleagues and everybody close to me. One false post could snowball into a narrative that can change the course of people’s lives and set a wrong precedent. I was called a rapist, sodomiser, predator and so much more, none of which I am. Words have great power and there is a spectrum of actions that should be considered from a perspective that is objective and unbiased. On the internet the keyboard warriors act as both the judge and jury make defining decisions for our lives. You aren’t given a fair chance to defend yourself. Facts and evidence hold no meaning.
Were there times I felt suicidal or wanted to run away — yes, on so many days. While I understood my mistake, I wasn’t going let the mob decide my narrative anymore. Let it blow over they say, but I couldn’t live like this. As a college drop out, the internet is where I learnt everything from but it also became the place that destroyed me. The irony continues.
All I request of you is for us to have a larger dialogue and due process moving forward. Hate cannot be the answer.
I do believe how a story is presented is equally important. I would like to present the true and correct facts and information, in their entirety, which were omitted when the story was shared by Ms. Priyanka Paul. Only 3 screenshots were shared which lacked context and other cues.
I must also make it clear that, I am sharing the entire chat history for readers to arrive at an informed opinion, only after convenient parts of the chat history were selectively presented. It was not me who waived the right to privacy of those chats, it was the ones who leaked it selectively in the first place.
TIMELINE OF ENGAGEMENTS
I would like to clarify, that when X saw me stop the audio recording I panicked and didn’t know how to react. Fear can be crippling and can make you say and do things, even if they are untrue. I told X that I had done this to other women too, to rationalize my action, which of course sounds ridiculous. I HAVE NEVER done this to anyone else.
WHAT WAS PRESENTED & THE SUPPORTING FACTS
- WHAT WAS PRESENTED | That I never apologised and was inconsiderate. FACTS | I apologised numerous times realising my actions and took accountability; all related chats are presented below:
2. WHAT WAS PRESENTED | That we didn’t speak or interact much after.
FACTS |X and I continued to speak for 12 days post the incident wherein things were normal as we had conversations, joked, and more.
3. WHAT WAS PRESENTED | I didn’t make time to meet. FACTS | I wanted to meet in person and provided numerous dates for meetings, but it didn’t work out.
4. WHAT WAS PRESENTED | The specific sexual act wasn’t consensual
FACTS |All acts were always part of a consensual sexual engagement. In hindsight, I may have misunderstood non-verbal cues in the moments of intimacy. After being asked to stop with the particular act we then continued into the bathroom. My understanding of being asked earlier in the night “are you into ass play,” “I like it rough,” implied a level of sexual comfort and interest, combined with the kind of overtly sexual conversations before.
5. X WANTED TO DO A SEMI-NUDE SHOOT WITH MY COMPANY A DAY AFTER WE STOPPED SPEAKING|
I would assume that if a person felt violated by me, any association with me would be a trigger. However, a day after we stopped speaking she reached out to my company and ex-editor’s personal instagram account with a picture of her bare posterior asking to be a model in the shoot at the office where I work. This is a glaring contradiction in itself to her public statement stating that she was afraid of running into me in public causing her anxiety.
6. INDIVIDUAL ATTACKING COMMENTERS |
It can be argued that she saw a separation between my platform and my act to want to be promoted on it, then why did she attack the platform posing to be a commenter through her own account (while she is anonymous in her statement) during the take down. Not only did she perpetuate a hostile environment towards the company, she also tagged friends and laughed at all the depraved comments against me, my company, my family and egged commenters on with malicious intent.
7. PRIYANKA ASKED MY SISTER TO CALL X |
Priyanka Paul first reached out to my sister and met with us to see all chats and documentation to get a complete idea of the situation. She agreed that it was necessary to get both sides to make a decision which we fully supported. Further which she specifically stated that while she thought my action was wrong, she understood that my intentions weren’t bad. It was then that she asked my sister to call X instead and provided her number. My sister hesitated as to whether she was the right person to reach out to X given that it was my action. But Priyanka insisted that my sister reach out and not me because they both had immense respect for my sister. The call to meet X was made in front of Priyanka.
8. PRIYANKA PAUL (@artwhoring) GETS A FEATURE DONE ON HER SEX EDUCATION ZINE FOR MEN AFTER KNOWING ALL DETAILS |
During the previously mentioned meeting, after discussing the incident, Priyanka went on to ask for advice on furthering her career. Again, if Priyanka has consistently blamed my platform and stated that it did not take any action against me despite knowledge of the incident(which again was in my individual capacity), then why has Priyanka Paul willingly promoted her ‘sex education zine for Indian men’, of all themes, on our platform after meeting us. There was no hesitation expressed and she excitedly agreed to the interviews and promotions, and neither has she till date disassociated herself from the company. She has not once asked for any of her content to be removed from the platform, while she continues to attack us.
8. PRIYANKA INTENTIONALLY LEAVES OUT TYPE OF RECORDING
Priyanka Paul was privy to all chats and communication based on our meeting. She first shared the story by intentionally omitting ‘audio’ only to be called out by my sister in a private chat and pretended that she didn’t realise it, and made the correction after the damage was done wherein over 15 global/local publications and all of social media picked it up as a video recording.
9. PRIYANKA LIES FURTHER IN MAY 2019 |
Priyanka Paul continues to build a narrative over 5 months through her social media platforms stating that I never apologised to x which is far from the truth, despite knowing I did, repeatedly. More importantly, before we met with her to discuss the facts of the incident, my sister had told her that on seeing all the facts, if she still felt that my act was deliberate, we would make a statement.
I understand that there are consequences for my actions, they are, as the above evidences, essentially private and effectively resolved, but to build a narrative with the most crucial details intentionally suppressed and left out and not presenting all the information, is not just misleading but deceit, misrepresentation and straight out — lying.
VARUN X INDIVIDUAL PRE-INCIDENT
X showed up at 2 of our events (company|personal) on the basis of a common whatsapp forward.
I would like to conclude by saying that this incident doesn’t define me and people who know me for the last 3 decades, know who I am. But I have learnt many lessons along the way, and I will continue to make amends for it. I will do better.