Tedx and Shruti Sunderraman/Facebook screengrab

A man who founded a website focused on the LGBT+ community and sex-positivity has come under fire after admitting he audio recorded himself having sex with a woman without her prior consent.

Homegrown’s co-founder Varun Patra has been accused of sexual harassment by an unnamed woman who made a public statement via an open letter on artist Priyanka Paul’s social media platforms.

The post then went viral after writer Shruti Sunderraman posted it on her Facebook page.

The unnamed woman said she had dinner with Varun Patra and, on 11 November, met up with him at her place.

"From all the conversation we had that night, and over the course of the past few months, one thing was clear – he knew the feminist 'woke boy' lingo and very skilfully used that to his advantage," the unnamed woman said.

She went on to accuse Varun of engaging in a sex act that she had initially said "no" to.

"He did it three times. I brushed it off as miscommunication but I shouldn’t have."

Right after we finished, I saw him stop a recording on his phone… and he admitted to the fact that he recorded us having sex, without my consent.

In that moment, my body was hollow, I was numb; I couldn’t process what happened, but I knew this creep needed to go.

The woman stated that Patra told her she was not the only woman he had recorded while having sex, and said he did it because he was scared of being falsely accused of sexual assault in light of the #MeToo movement.

Paul shared WhatsApp screengrabs of the alleged conversation between Varun and the anonymous woman, in which he admits to recording two other women without their consent, which he apologised for.

"As a person who already has anxiety, this has destroyed me," she added.

I can’t go out without feeling like I will bump into him and have a panic attack; I am constantly worried someone will record me without my consent.

This has forever changed me and forever changed how I will interact in relationships. After speaking with him over text right after this incident, it occurred to me that he doesn’t truly understand what consent even means. He said that only after I caught him did he realise recording women is wrong. It took me calling him out to realise what is and isn’t wrong? This is why I believe he is very dangerous.

He doesn’t even view his actions as immoral.

In response, Patra uploaded a statement about two incidents.

"I could not and would never do such a thing with the intention of harming somebody physically or mentally," he stated.

 I put my phone on audio recording and here, I want to be clear that I completely understand that this is not OK.

It came from a place of fear and uncertainty of how to navigate sex with somebody who I had not known for very long in the atmosphere of #MeToo, which I had already been introspecting on a lot.

I was extremely anxious and fearful that any sexual activity, irrespective of consent, could be used against me. 

It was only when she caught me that I understood the magnitude of my actions in violating somebody’s privacy. This is why I have done everything I could do to apologise for any behaviour which caused harm unwittingly even though my intentions were not to hurt.

I was extremely anxious and fearful that any sexual activity, irrespective of consent, could be used against me.

H/T Rolling Stone India

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