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#metoo: ‘I asked him about my salary, and I was called to his office’

  • Published at 12:39 am November 18th, 2018
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Women journalists stand in solidarity in front of the National Press Club with sexual assault victims on Friday, November 16, 2018 Syed Zakir Hossain/ Dhaka Tribune

A transwoman describes how in the middle of an office meeting, her employer, a prominent publisher, jumped on her

Yet another woman has raised sexual harassment allegations against a public figure, accusing the man of forcing himself on her under the guise of offering employment.

With a #metoo hashtag, transwoman and National Human Rights Commission employee Tasnuva Anan Shishir posted on her Facebook profile describing an incident she says took place this October, in the office of a prominent bookstore owner and publisher.

At that point, Shishir said in the post, she was unemployed and going through some hardship, looking for a job. A friends informed her that the publisher was looking for someone to manage his book store’s Gulshan branch.

The next day, Shishir says in her post, she went for an interview at the man’s office.

“I was told that I would be coordinating the Gulshan branch and push the sales. But the people there were told I would be doing research on Tagore, which astonished me,” she wrote in that post.

“I asked him about my salary, and I was called to his office. I was wearing saree that day. In his room he asked me to sit next to him on the sofa. He started praising me. My eyes are pretty, I am pretty, he likes me very much, that sort of talk. He had locked the door and I had no way of getting out.

“I did not know what to do. My hands were getting cold. I tried to stay calm and speak normally. I asked him about my salary and he said: “You will get Tk10,000 but I will give you Tk5,000 personally.”

“That made me so angry. Then he started to ask me personal questions. “What sort of boys do you like?” I said certainly not someone middle-aged like you. He grabbed my hand.

“He grabbed me forcefully and kissed me on the lips. I told him to let me go and he did, but he did not open the door.

“Then suddenly he unzipped his pants and exposed his genitals, asked me if I like his size. All of this happened before I could respond. Now he had crossed all limits. I said if you do not open the door I will scream. If you rape me, kill me, or else let me go,” she wrote.

At this point the man let her out of the room.

She never went back to that office.

Currently, Shishir is working atNational Human Rights Commission as the in-charge of their day care centre.

A number of women have come out against their aggressors on social media, beginning with model Maksuda Akhter Prioty, who revealed that she was assaulted by a prominent businessman when she went to receive payment for a project.

All the women have used the hashtag metoo, which was launched on social media as early as 2006 by American activists but gained momentum in 2017 as women in the US media and fashion industry began revealing their stories of sexual abuse and harassment.

Women journalists have held a demonstration in the city to express solidarity with the women and encouraged them to come forth.