Relationship based on coercion, abuse of power: US-based journalist to MJ Akbar

File photo of MJ Akbar. Photograph:( DNA )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 03, 2018, 09.33 AM (IST)

US-based journalist, who had recently levelled allegations against former union minister MJ Akbar, released a statement on Friday responding to Akbar's claims that he was in a consensual relationship with her.

In a tweet posted on Friday, she said, "Rather than taking responsibility for his abuse of me and his serial predation of other young women who have courageously come forward. MJ Akbar has insisted—just like other infamous serial sexual abuser of women—that the relationship was consensual".

"It was not. A relationship that is based on coercion, and abuse of power, is not consensual. I stand by every word in my published account", she added.

Former Union minister M J Akbar on Friday denied allegations of rape levelled against him by a US-based journalist. Speaking to news agency ANI, Akbar said that the two were in a consensual relationship which perhaps didn't end on a "best note".

"Somewhere around 1994, she and I entered into a consensual relationship that spanned several months. This relationship gave rise to talk and would later cause strife in my home life as well. This consensual relationship ended, perhaps not on the best note," Akbar said.

"Several people who worked with me and knew both of us have indicated that they would be happy to testify and that at no stage did her behaviour give any one of them impression that she was working under duress," he added.

The US-based journalist, in a newspaper article, narrated her side in detail and described the incident of rape and various others incidents of sexual assault 23 years ago.

Akbar's wife Mallika Joseph too is standing by her husband. "I have been silent all this while as a 'MeToo' campaign has been unleashed against my husband, Mr MJ Akbar. However, article by journalist alleging that she was raped by him forces me to step in with what I know to be true," she has said in her statement.

"The journalist was often at our home, happily drinking and dining with us. Neither carried the haunted look of victims of sexual assault. I don't know her reasons for telling this lie but a lie it is," said Joseph.

"At a party at our home, crowded with young journalists, I have watched with mortification and pain as they danced close. I had confronted my husband at the time and he decided to prioritise his family," she added.

Akbar, who was the Minister of State for External Affairs at the Centre, resigned last month after as many as 16 women journalists accused him of sexual assault and harassment when he was a newspaper editor.

Story highlights

In a tweet posted on Friday, she said, 'Rather than taking responsibility for his abuse of me and his serial predation of other young women who have courageously come forward. MJ Akbar has insisted—just like other infamous serial sexual abuser of women—that the relationship was consensual'.