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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Less than 1% of IIT alumni respond to magazine poll on rape, women’s safety

Bhavya Dore, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 29, 2013
First Published: 01:14 IST(29/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:15 IST(29/4/2013)

The quarterly alumni magazine of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay has accused alumni of “apathy” and “indifference” after only a small fraction of the community participated in a conversation about women’s safety and rape in the magazine’s latest issue.

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In an alumni poll open to 25,000-plus members, only 215 responded to questions on women’s issues. The survey, initiated after the December Delhi rape and several other instances of sexual assault, has been published in Fundamatics, the alumni quarterly.

“To experience such indifference for an issue that made the ground, across geographies, shift beneath the feet of millions and billions was something that we were not ready for,” the magazine said in a preamble to the survey results.

“This level of apathy needed a new word that we didn’t know and we hope to never learn it in the future too… Why did an audience that has never shied and often been loud and unrestrained in voicing their opinions go mostly quiet…?”

In the previous two polls, more than 1,000 people had participated.

Of those who responded to the online poll, 45% said they were willing to set aside some time to volunteer if the fraternity set up a forum to work with police, administration, counsellors, rape victims and others on women’s safety issues. Others offered financial help (7%) and support in other ways (13%), but 21% said they were not sure if they were interested in participating in outreach.

However, not everyone thinks this makes IITians apathetic. “It doesn’t mean IITians don’t care or don’t have an opinion, just that since this was a general topic, people might have felt there were others more qualified to comment on these matters,” said Bakul Desai, chairperson of the IIT-B Alumni Association.

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