Slam Poet Shamir Reuben Has Been Accused Of Sexually Harassing Minors

    In a Facebook post, multiple women shared stories of how Reuben made sexual advances toward them when they were minors.

    Yesterday, a 19-year-old Mumbai-based student and poet made allegations of sexual misconduct against 25-year-old Mumbai slam poet Shamir Reuben.

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    Reuben has become popular for being progressive and vocally feminist on social media and in his poetry.

    The woman wrote a post on Facebook detailing instances in which Reuben initiated inappropriate conversation with her and a friend of hers.

    Facebook: sakinaAbootwala

    In the post, she also attached screenshots from several women who went through similar experiences with him.

    According to the original poster, she was just 16 when she was approached by Reuben, who was 22 at the time. This was in 2015.

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    Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, soliciting sex, nude photographs or stalking harassing a child is a punishable offence.

    Here's another account, this one from a woman who interacted with Reuben at a poetry event, after which he texted her inappropriately.

    Sakina Bootwala

    "With the recent increase in people speaking out against powerful men, I realised that I had nothing to be afraid of and it was high time I let out all the anger I've been feeling for all these years," the original poster told BuzzFeed. "I'd been thinking of doing this for a while, I just didn't know how to go about it... Because I was so young, I did not think of saving the conversations. However, a lot of people have sent me screenshots of their conversations with him. A lot of people who were/are friends of his have spoken up against him. That has been extremely encouraging, considering I was expecting them to defend him and was afraid of having to face backlash. Surprisingly, there's been none."

    Prominent female poets like Harnidh Kaur and Aranya Johar have been supportive of victims.

    Facebook: helloaranya, Harnidh Kaur

    "Aranya Johar and I have been in close contact since March... We spoke on the phone just before I posted on Facebook and she told me that the whole poetry community would support me if I decided to do it," Bootwala added. Kaur has also offered legal assistance to those who might need it.

    Yesterday, Reuben's employer Kommune (where he is head of content) announced that it had suspended his role at the organisation.

    Reuben addressed the allegations on his Facebook profile:

    So far, none of the women who have made allegations against him have filed any FIRs or taken any legal course of action.

    UPDATE

    The headline of this article has been changed to be more clear, and information has been added regarding the legal implications of Reuben's actions under POCSO.

    UPDATE

    The original poster's name has been retracted on her request.

    UPDATE

    The name of one of the accusers has been retracted on her request.

    Contact Sonia Mariam Thomas at Sonia.thomas@buzzfeed.com.

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