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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

A call for sex rang out in a law college classroom

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 14, 2013
First Published: 23:14 IST(14/1/2013) | Last Updated: 15:54 IST(7/9/2013)

I am a 22-year-old studying in a prestigious law college of Delhi — an institution where the best brains from across the country study under the guidance of the best teachers. A place where students from educated families study and where you would expect healthy interaction between girls and boys. In fact, a place where you expect men to be gentlemen.

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But the reality is shockingly different.

I was in my second year and the class was in progress when, all of a sudden, we heard a boy from the rear benches scream, “suck my ...”. The class came to a sudden halt and we were all shocked. The profanity was directed towards a girl.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/1/WakeUpLogo.jpg

Following the rule
The girl followed the rule of law — file a written complaint about sexual harassment and submit it to the head of the institution. Not to say, she expected action against the offender.

We all expected severe disciplinary action against the boy. But it wasn’t the case, as we soon found out. As soon as she submitted her complaint, the offender suddenly seemed to become the victim and the victim became a villain in everybody’s eyes.

Coercive tactics
To our complete horror, most teachers — those who had given us long classroom lectures on justice and fairness — requested the girl to withdraw her complaint. This included the lady teacher in whose class the incident had taken place. The girl did not relent but no action was taken and the college conveniently sat on the complaint.

I wouldn’t write this if it were an isolated incident.

Status Quo
There was a rerun, this time by another person. The college had the same solution for the problem. The head of the institution was worried that the girl might lodge an FIR, which would have an adverse impact on the reputation of the college. This time, he personally came to the class and apologised on behalf of the boy.

This is the state of affairs in a leading law school.

Setting doesn’t matter
How is this any different from cases where the police refuse to register a woman’s complaint or force her to withdraw it?  How is the behaviour of these boys any different from ‘illiterate’ men who have never even seen the gates of a school? By sharing this incident, I do not intend to bring down the reputation of my college in any way. I only want people to know that the mindset towards women is no different in cities than in villages.

Wolf calls and sexually offensive remarks are not even considered serious offence by the society at large.

I write to share my disgust. Everything we studied in the law college seemed useless and redundant after such shameless incidents. My college seems to have come up with a new form of punishment — an apology. Why do we have laws? If this is the way of dealing with sexual harassment in a premier law school of the country, then should we really be surprised when similar and even worse incidents happen in small towns and villages?

Think about it.

The writer’s name has been withheld to protect her identity

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