Find out how the harsh realities of what students face often remains unspoken.
One in every four women in Delhi University has been the victim of sexual harassment. In the same study what was also revealed was how, not even half of the students were aware of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in their colleges.
A student of Kamala Nehru College faced a gruesome incident while travelling in route 544 of the DTC buses. On one of her daily commutes to college, a male passenger started rubbing his private parts against her from behind and this went on till she reached her stop. When she asked him to stop, he responded with, “I’ll do what I want.”
Another student from DU shared her experience of humiliation when a fellow student publicly pointed at her breasts and making a comment, leaving her shaking. The rise of such activities is seen during fests, when people try to take advantage of the large crowds and chaos to grope and inappropriately touch students. Students come to see their favourite artists perform but return with a dreadful experience.
The instances of harassment extend to emotional and mental harassment as well. What is shocking is how at a point in time the people who claim to be more aware are the same individuals who turn out to be guilty of what they spoke against while fluently articulating their ‘liberal’ and ‘woke’ views. The recent calling out of comedians is an example of how such garb is created. Societies and circuits in DU have become toxic for several students due to these instances.
Social media has become a platform for people to share their horrors. A student of DU shared her grim story of being in a relationship with a senior who had considerable social capital. She talked about the ghastly emotional impact on her by virtue of the inherent power dynamics in a heterosexual relationship which was furthered by his visibility in his college society.
On asking an out-station student about whether she shared her horror of being groped she responded, “My parents will get worried and call me back home if I tell them. I can’t take a chance like this.” Several negative aspects of Indian society contribute to people not being able to share their stories. Women are either asked not to travel at night or to travel with a friend.
On speaking to an official from Maurice Nagar Police Station, located in the North Campus, it was revealed that such complaints are handled by lady officers, attempts are made to create a safe and comfortable environment for the complainant. Colleges also have ICC and Women’s Development Cell (WDC) to approach for such instances. While many women came forward to share their stories, no responses were received from any male students, the reasons for which remain ambiguous.
Image Credits: DU Beat archives