A feudal culture of sexual harassment at Greenpeace India

I take NGO’s with a very large bushel of salt. Many start with good intentions and are then corrupted, become family enterprises or are hijacked by the hard left who were rendered homeless by the end of the Cold War and the demise of state communism. The World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and the Friends of the Earth are examples of hijacking by the homeless hard left. The Ford Foundation has for long been corrupted by the CIA and part of the foundation’s function is to serve as a covert arm for implementing US policy. In India many of the NGO’s have become expert at milking funds from local and foreign sources but the main beneficiaries are those who own or run the NGO. Many of the NGO’s in India operate as feudal fiefdoms with little external oversight over financial or behavioural processes.

UPDATE! Greenpeace India says it has sacked the two employees accused of rape and sexual harassment but have not said anything about correcting the prevailing culture.

I was not surprised when Greenpeace India was put on the government’s watch list. I am not much surprised either by the reports of an ingrained culture of sexual harassment and rape at Greenpeace India. I can well imagine that Greenpeace India operates in quite a feudal manner and that senior managers believe they have the right of droit de seigneur. Their “do-gooding” is supposed to absolve them of their sexual peccadillos. It is the same culture which led to the assumed privileges and the resulting sexual predations of Rajendra Pachauri as the head of TERI and Chairman of the IPCC. Possibly this culture is something local and not representative of Greenpeace everywhere, but similar allegations have been made against other local Greenpeace organisations (Indonesia for example).

DNA: Already mired in controversy, Greenpeace India on Monday tendered an unconditional apology for the way it handled an alleged sexual harassment case of one of its ex-employees and said it is investigating the matter.

The statement comes after one of its ex-employees wrote an article which was published on a web forum last week alleging sexual harassment and also rape by colleagues at Greenpeace India.

Unmid.comIn an article published on a web forum last week, an ex-employee (name withheld) of Greenpeace alleged that she had to leave her job in 2013 after being sexually harassed and raped by her colleagues. Narrating her ordeal, she said that it started a year after she had joined the NGO at their Bengaluru office. The first incident happened during an official trip in October 2012.

“I got a call from a senior colleague at 11 pm, asking me to vacate my room and insisting that I sleep in his suite. In another incident, he approached me physically despite my discomfort, insisted on force-feeding me birthday cake,” she told IANS.

Though she registered a written complaint with the HR manager, she did not receive any verbal or written communication from the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the organisation, which looks into sexual harassment cases. To her shock, she learnt that the person was a serial offender and no action had been taken against him despite his misbehaviour with two other female employees.

However, she said, she was blamed for registering the complaint. “Once in an official meeting, in my absence, two senior employees indulged in character assassination against me. Even some female colleagues, part of the ICC, made me feel that I was at fault, that I didn’t know how to ‘set boundaries’,” she said.

However, matters came to a head in 2013. “It was after a party, when a male colleague whom I knew quite well found me unconscious and raped me. You cannot imagine the pain and fear I went through. I was terrified to speak and I knew even if I had, no one in this organisation would come to my aid. I did not have the strength to report my rape, neither to the police, nor to my employers. How could I, when the processes had failed me once already?” she asked. Traumatised, she left the NGO after a few months. She said it took her long to overcome the incident, and finally, she decided to tell her story through a Facebook post in February this year.

Immediately after her post, Greenpeace issued an apology on their website and promised her to re-investigate the case in an adequate manner.
Admitting the lax attitude in dealing with the case in 2012, the statement said, “The victim deserves both an apology and a meticulous examination of what happened.”

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