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Rahul Raj Singh: “Tanushree Dutta Gave Me The Courage To Come Out With My Story”

Subhash K . Jha

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On Saturday morning actor Rahul Raj Singh  became the first male survivor to relate  his horrific story  of  sexual  harassment.

Rahul alleged sexual harassment by writer Mushtaq Sheikh.

Rahul’s phone has  not  stopped ringing the entire day. “I didn’t realize I  was  the first male victim (of sexual harassment) to come  out. Believe me, Sir, there are so many others boys  like me who  come here to  become an actor and are subjected to a kind of exploitation  they had never imagined or even heard of . Why  do we  presume that only women get sexually exploited? Men too are raped   brutalized harassed and bullied.”

 Rahul feels it was important  for him to  let the world  know what Seikh had subjected him to. “He has been shamed. That was  my motive. He  will think  many times before trying this(sexual advances) on other unsuspecting  youngsters who come to Mumbai with stars on  their eyes. I  was only 19 when this happened to me. Can you imagine my confusion and shock?”

 Rahul wants  to  make it clear that his  protest has nothing to do with the perpetrator’s  sexual preference. “I have many gay  friends. And I am totally relaxed with them. My problem is with the pressure tactics. You can’t bully  a young man or woman into sleeping with you. That’s a gross  misuse  of power.”

Rahul  remembers himself as bewildered callow 19-year old. “At that time  Mushtaq Sheikh seemed  a big name and  a good way to find my way into  cinema.  He  used to hang around with   Shah Rukh Khan and  Ekta Kapoor.  I thought he could get me work. But after I  refused  his overtures I rapidly started losing all hope of work. It was like  a big signboard in front of me: Give In  Or Get Out.”

Rahul has been hanging on for ten years. “So much has happened to my life  . I lost my film career. I lost opportunities  on television. My personal life went through  a turmoil. If I had  work I may not have gone through what I did. But what is done is done. Thanks to the courage of one lady Tanushree Dutta who spoke about her harassment , I also found the courage to address my demon. I am glad I got it out during Dussehra which is the time Good conquers  over Evil.”

What next for Rahul?  “I am going to  CINTAA(Cine & TV Artistes’ Association) with my case. But no. I am not taking any  legal action against my harasser. He has been named and shamed.  That is enough for me. I spoke on behalf of all small-towners who come to Mumbai with stars in their eyes  only to be treated like trash. Perhaps the voices of victims of  sexual misbehavior  who are now speaking up,would give dignity to newcomers in the entertainment  industry who have nowhere to  go when a powerful man misuses his power.”

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