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Sexual harassment at college often happens on the pretext of ragging. Read on to find out how you can combat it.
Education opens up our minds and broadens our thinking. Sadly, this does not always happen at the places of education.
Educational institutes are considered as temples of knowledge in our nation, but these places turn out to be a nightmare for some. Sexual harassment and ragging are rampant at most colleges and universities. You might think that it has never happened to you so why would it happen to others or why should I bother? But think again. You’d be surprised at the facts!
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According to a survey conducted by Ara Johannes, a shocking 61.7% women reported that they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in or coming to college. Another funded study by UGC revealed that 40 per cent students in colleges across India faced some kind of ragging while only 8.6 per cent out of these actually reported the incidents.
What, then, is the solution to this? How do we fight against such atrocities? To make life at educational institutes smooth and carefree, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has drafted a list of norms to be followed by each educational institute. It has even issued circulars to all the universities to establish a permanent cell to combat sexual harassment, violence against women and ragging at the universities and colleges. The UGC Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women in Workplace is available at the UGC website. The handbook deals with the duties and responsibilities of employers, institutions and organisations with regard to safety of women at their workplace.
To make things unambiguous, it has also framed an exhaustive definition of campus, which includes outdoor premises and official visits. Other things include key features, punishments for such an act and the repercussions of non compliance.
Here are some highlights from these guidelines:
Since most of the cases of sexual harassment in college are against women students and teachers, it is imperative that they are given the weapon to deal with such degrading behaviour.
We also come across cases of ragging and the resultant suicides or deaths happening because of such harassment. In order to curb both these and other kinds of harassment, it is necessary that, first, we as citizens, become vigilant about such laws and take the necessary action following such incidents.
The compelling factor for looking into this matter was this article in the TOI which revealed that most students aren’t aware of a cell against sexual harassment at college existing in their colleges and universities. Our purpose for this article is only one – to build awareness. Only when the students have the knowledge of such a cell, will they feel safe and look forward to attending college rather than being scared of it.
Published here earlier.
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