On 6 May 2019, Mumbai-based television actor and singer Karan Oberoi was arrested by the police, following an FIR lodged against him by a 34-year-old woman. The FIR, filed at Mumbai’s Oshiwara Police Station, charged him under sections 376 (rape) and 384 (extortion) of the Indian Penal Code.The actor had allegedly raped the woman, filmed the act, and then used the clip to blackmail her. He also allegedly duped her under the pretext of marriage. Naturally, Karan and his lawyer denied these charges.Karan Oberoi’s immediate arrest was proof that 2018’s #Metoo movement had spilled over to 2019 as well. But little did we know that his case had also birthed a unique counter-movement in support of men.The Aftermath of Karan Oberoi’s ArrestFollowing his arrest, Karan was sent to judicial custody for a period of 14 days even as his bail plea was pending in sessions court. Subsequently, on 17 May, Karan was denied bail. However, Karan and his family kept appealing for bail which was eventually granted on 7 June, almost a month after his arrest. As Karan spent a month locked up, a series of developments in the case completely changed its course.During this time, all sorts of reactions erupted. Bollywood actor Pooja Bedi was one of the first ones to come out in support of Karan Oberoi.“We need laws against rape and such violence; but at the same time, if women are misusing the law that is meant to protect them, we need to think about how to protect the rights of the man as well!”Pooja Bedi, ActorWomen Misusing the Law?While Pooja made a perfectly valid point about women “misusing the law that is meant to protect them” — after all, who isn’t capable of misusing the law? — her argument fell flat the minute she started reading out personal messages between Karan and his accuser. Particularly, the part where the survivor makes an explicit sexual proposition to Karan.According to Pooja, here’s a message sent by the accuser to Karan: “Karan, I am being open and upfront. Can we have sex, without thinking about the future, emotions and anything else just for now, as my body needs it? And I do not feel comfortable to indulge with anyone else, so let me know what you think about it.”Slut-shaming women who come out against men (in power or not) is a trope we’ve witnessed several times — both in real life as well as fictional storytelling.The woman offering to willingly indulge in sex has no direct connection with the fact that she was allegedly raped and blackmailed. If anything, it’s an attack on her morality in a society that still refuses to let women have agency of their own bodies.And would such unconnected facts be accepted as evidence in court?Pooja Bedi Questions Victim’s MotivesPooja Bedi also mentioned other evidence that seemingly made the accuser’s statement less credible. This included a non-cognizable complaint filed by Karan against the accuser, a television interview by the accuser, and the woman’s decision to file the FIR just before the courts close for summer vacation. Thereby making it difficult for Karan to seek bail and fight for his innocence.Here’s what one of Karan Oberoi’s band mates, Sherrin Varghese, had to say about the situation.“It’s a case of someone being jaded about unrequited love. At least with the help of some messages Karan had saved from her, we are learning how she’s smartly put him in a spot,”Sherrin VargheseThe Staged AttackOn the morning of 25 May, an incident occurred. One that would jeopardise the integrity of the case. As the accuser stepped out for her morning walk, she was allegedly attacked by two bike-borne miscreants who wanted her to withdraw her case. The woman then filed an FIR of the incident.An investigation post the second FIR revealed that one of the four arrested in connection with the attack was related to the accuser’s lawyer, Ali Kashif Khan. Times of India also reported that Ali Kashif Khan, in court, had confessed that the attack was self-plotted by the accuser.What This Means for the #Metoo MovementWhile I still wouldn’t straight up declare my disbelief in the accuser’s initial statement against Karan Oberoi, there’s no doubt about the fact that this development has seriously compromised the case both legally as well as morally. At least from a legal standpoint, the far-off faith in the concept of evidence-based justice provides comfort. However, at the same time, such a momentous development fuels the very problematic thought process that is at the root of an underlying movement aimed at discrediting sexual assault survivors — particularly women. We have seen this happen to several women who spoke out in the #MeToo movement.As I write this, Karan Oberoi, currently out on bail, is demanding an investigation into the attack staged by his rape-accuser — and rightly so.When looked at in isolation, this incident certainly raises questions about the possible “misuse of law.” But in the larger scheme of things, a more important question to ask is that why would anyone go to this extent to falsely frame a case against someone? Or can there be another motive?Karan Oberoi, Pooja Bedi Participate in #MenToo Protest We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.