BBC scribe reveals abuse

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the BBC's Indian origin political correspondent in Washington, Rajini Vaidyanathan, has joined the #MeToo: campaign and caused quite a stir by revealing she had faced sexual harassment from male colleagues at work.

By Amit Roy in London
  • Published 19.10.17
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BBC correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan

London: In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the BBC's Indian origin political correspondent in Washington, Rajini Vaidyanathan, has joined the #MeToo: campaign and caused quite a stir by revealing she had faced sexual harassment from male colleagues at work.

Supporting what has turned into a global phenomenon in which some 700,000 women have told their personal stories about being targeted by men at work, Rajini wrote on the BBC's website: "My #MeToo experience is sadly typical."

Vaidyanathan was born and brought up in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. Her father arrived in Britain from India in 1966 "with £75 in his pocket" and returned to get married in Chennai in 1975.

She provides a number of examples of the uncomfortable situations she has encountered at work.

She recounts: "A few years ago a married former colleague of mine began sending me messages containing explicit details of his sexual desires. 'I have become obsessed with pleasuring myself,' he wrote. 'I just can't control myself.'

"I was horrified but at first I thought I needed to be polite, as there was a chance we'd work together again (why do women always feel they need to be polite in these situations?) I didn't really know what to say, so I responded telling him that it sounded pretty normal for some men to think like that, hoping he'd go away. But his messages continued and became more creepy. He said he'd fantasised about sex with powerful women, and how he wanted to cheat on his wife."

Vaidyanathan continues: "I told him to talk to someone else - not me - and to get help. I didn't tell anyone at first. I felt disgusted but kept it to myself.

"Months later I was chatting to another female colleague who told me that for years she had received dirty messages from the same man. I let out a sigh of relief, as I realised I could finally share my story. Soon after I heard he'd been fired. Another colleague had filed a complaint against him."

She notes: "The recent conversation about Harvey Weinstein has prompted countless conversations among my female friends about where the line stops in these situations, and when you should say something."