Friday, September 17 2021

Dive In

After a lot of contemplation and discussion with my close people, Ravi bhai and also Rohit, who have been an essential part of the leadership group, I have decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October.

That’s Virat Kohli setting off a firestorm of speculation after announcing his departure as T20 captain on social media. He described the move as a case of “workload management”—not a reflection of any self-assessment of leadership capabilities. Indian Express sees this as “throwing the gauntlet” at the cricket board. The Telegraph sums up the ongoing debate over his captaincy.


ICYMI: The latest episode of the splainer podcast ‘Press Decode’ takes an interesting look at how power relationships work in two totally different areas: VPNs and the fashion industry. Be sure to head over to the IVM website, Spotify or Apple Podcasts to listen to our always lively team:)

Coming up soon: We are very excited to announce our next Ask Me Anything session with Aditi Mittal—one of the funniest women in India. Just check out her ‘Girl Meets Mic’ special on Netflix or this clip from ‘Mother of Invention’ (sadly not available on Amazon Prime India). PS: Aditi is just as entertaining on Insta or Twitter. Time/Date: 6 pm on Thursday, September 23, via Zoom. Sign up here for one of the limited slots.

Big Story

The United Nations has a serious #MeToo problem

The TLDR: We’ve long known about sexual atrocities committed by UN peacekeeping forceswhich often go unpunished. But a new investigation by The Cut exposes a toxic culture of sexual abuse within the institutionwhere powerful officials are let off the hook by a system that protects its own. 


The background 

We’ve long known that UN peacekeeping forces have been involved in horrific cases of sexual assault and exploitation—and have largely escaped any consequences. The reason: The home countries who send these forces are unwilling to take action. The New Humanitarian lays out a chilling 25-year timeline of the innumerable incidents of violence, dating back to sex trafficking in the Balkans in the 1990s. The most recent: serious sexual abuse claims in Gabon—due to which the UN has been forced to withdraw its troops.


But recent developments show that the violence against women is an institutional problem—and endemic within the UN’s own institutional culture.


The resignation:


In December, Purna Sen—appointed at UN Women in 2018 to address harassment, assault and discrimination—resigned after she was told her role would not be renewed. After quitting, Sen said:


"The system lacks independence and there is a real problem with accounts being taken seriously. Managers are instructed to start with the presumption of innocence but this has translated to a starting position of distrust of those making complaints… When victims make disclosures they are often unjustly treated and there is too much onus on protecting those in power.”


The most recent case

  • In December, 2019, Martina Brostrom was fired for sexual and financial misconduct. 
  • She challenged her firing, saying she was being penalised for filing a complaint against a senior UNAIDS official who “groped her in a hotel elevator in Thailand in 2015 and tried to drag her towards his room.” 
  • And she insisted that he triggered the misconduct probe after Brostrom went public with her assault complaint. 
  • In January, the Global Board of Appeal of the World Health Organization—which oversees UNAIDS—“did not find an error of fact or law in the findings of misconduct.”
  • But here’s the cherry on this nasty pie: UNAIDS has refused to share a copy of its investigation into her sexual harassment—citing confidentiality.
  • FYI: An internal UNAIDS staff survey found that almost 10% of the respondents had experienced sexual harassment. Only two had reported it.


The investigation

This week, The Cut published an in-depth investigation into UN’s sexual harassment problem—based on accounts of 43 workers: “Eighteen reported experiencing violence that the UN would classify as a sexual assault. Eight said they were raped, including two who said they had been raped more than once.” 


It is worth noting who the victims are:


“UN workers described being sexually harassed or assaulted at a workshop on emergency management in Norway, during an internship in Spain, on missions in Ethiopia and Somalia, and in the UN-headquarter cities of Vienna, Nairobi, Geneva, and New York. The victims of harassment and assault, the vast majority of whom were women with precarious employment status, included an administrative assistant in Pakistan and a legal intern in Cambodia.” 


Also noteworthy: the official roles of many of their alleged abusers:


“They identified the alleged perpetrators as UN workers investigating human-rights violations in Syria, expanding women’s access to reproductive health care in South Sudan, negotiating the Paris climate agreement, and building cases against war criminals at the Hague. They named security officers, spokespeople, hiring managers, and human-rights lawyers.”


Point to note: The Guardian did a similar investigation back in 2018—based on accounts of dozens of workers. Of those interviewed, 15 said they had experienced or reported sexual harassment or assault within the past five years. Only seven of them had filed a complaint. Three of them were forced out of their jobs or threatened with the termination of their contract—while the alleged abusers remained in their positions.


A “zero consequences” crime


In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • IMF chief accused of boosting China
  • A worrying exit at Outlook
  • China is erasing its movie stars
  • A pretty fly named RuPaul!


Weekend Advisory 

  • A case for bringing back cargo pants
  • There is no such thing as the mind!

Share your love!

Sign up your friends & fam (and anyone else!) by copy/pasting your special referral link below! Or just click on the link and share that specially coded subscription page the usual way. We will say a big 'thank you' by offering you a very nice token of our appreciation. Check out our FAQs. to know more. We grow and thrive because of you!


Become a subscriber!

Discover why smart, curious people around the world swear by splainer!

Sign Up Here!

Gift splainer today!

Love spending your mornings with us? Share the joy by gifting a subscription to someone you ❤️

Gift splainer

Complaints, suggestions or just wanna say hi? Talk to us at talktous@splainer.in

Join our community

© 2021 splainer.in
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.
Unsubscribe from this list.