Whether The Chandigarh University Videos Exist Or Not, The Authority Response Is About Shaming Women!

Preliminary investigations have found that the alleged videos do not exist, and the woman shot one video of herself in the bathroom and sent it to her boyfriend.

Recently, students of Chandigarh University got embroiled in a deplorable situation.

Not much is clear yet. Students have gathered in protest against a female student who had allegedly filmed about 60 other women from her hostel taking baths and circulated them.

Chandigarh University authorities and the police discredit the existence of any such videos. The student in question had apparently only taken her own video to send to her boyfriend in Shimla, but the same police arrested the woman last night.

If she had circulated objectionable videos of others, why are the police rubbishing the claims? Otherwise if she has not, why was the woman arrested, that too after sundown? So far there have come up two widely differing accounts, and both are incredibly concerning for the women of the university, and women, in general.

Consent v/s moral policing

Taking your own nude pictures are not the problem, spreading rumours are.

Preliminary investigations have found that the woman shot one video of herself in the bathroom and sent it to her boyfriend. If both she and the boyfriend are consenting and not underage, it would seem to be a consensual exchange between two adults that is not violating any law whatsoever.

Some students had also asked why the woman was arrested if she had forwarded her own video.

There is no law against taking your own nudes. There is no law against sharing them consensually. But the media consistently addressing the university student as a girl, infantilises her and takes away her sexual agency.

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Why is society so bothered with a woman enjoying her sexuality that an elaborate, deplorable scenario is probably concocted that leads to her being humiliated, abused and even arrested?

And equally important is the question of –

If the preliminary investigation is found to be right, who made up these rumours?

A detailed investigation needs to be carried out to flush out the minds behind this. Fake news has become an entire industry in itself churning out polarising material against individual people or communities for the benefit of those in power. Policing and shaming a young, sexually liberated woman would snugly fit the agenda of the fake news industry.

Conversely, it could also be about objectification. School and college girls are some of the most searched categories in any porn site. A voyeuristic and sadistic consumer base for abuse porn, even searches for the rape and murder of Kathua or Pollachi victims of gang-rape, represent the deep rot that society has failed to tackle.

If these indeed are malicious rumours spun for voyeuristic purposes, there are laws against it, and instead of slut-shaming and arresting the university student, the ones behind this rumour should be apprehended.

The protesting students demand action

If such videos do exist, it is a horrendous crime against the women, and the university and police authorities are not thorough in their investigation or failing to publish the truth of their existence.

Hundreds of students have taken to the streets to demand action from the university authorities. This is an abject failure of university authorities to take the bare minimum accountability and appease the anxious student body, who have every reason to feel insecure in the university space.

There are reports of attempted suicide and anxiety attacks that lead to a certain student being hospitalised. While university authorities claim reports of suicide attempts are baseless, the anxiety of the students needs to be addressed.

The existence of such videos would be a gross violation of human rights and the university needs to take stringent steps to ensure no repeat or the possibility of such crimes within their jurisdiction.

This is not about family’s honour, but individual’s human rights

Women and their bodies are NOT the repository of the family’s their fathers’ or brothers’ or anyone else’s “honour”.

As these complaints against the student for taking unsolicited, objectionable videos breached the confines of the university space and got viral on social media, political personalities, including the Chief Minister of the state, voiced their opinions on the same. They resorted to the same old, tired conception of “our daughters are our honour”. As Kamla Bhasin had said, “why did you place your community’s honour in a woman’s vagina?”, or by extension, her body or sexuality.

No, the women are not “losing their honour” if such a reprehensible act of filming them is committed. No, their families absolutely do not lose any honour by it.

If the videos exist, this is a gross violation of women’s bodily autonomy. Their bodies do not belong to their fathers and brothers. Women are not merely somebody’s daughter or sister, they are primarily independent individuals with full citizenship and full rights. You don’t have to be someone’s daughter for you to claim your bodily autonomy.

It is in these comments by people holding important positions in public life that normalises policing women’s sexualities.

If such videos are found to be taken after a detailed investigation, it would be a crime against those women. If there are no such videos, it isn’t okay to slut shame an adult woman for anything consensual.

Whatever truth investigation might find, this is a larger issue of women’s bodies and sexualities being policed and shamed or objectified.

Edited to add: According to the latest news coming in on this issue, the Chandigarh University video row stir ends after students’ demands were heeded.

“Three demands of the students that have been heeded are: a 10-member committee of students will be given updates in the case, the warden of the hostel – where the incident happened – would be suspended, and a checking of the girls’ hostel would be done. The varsity has also assured that they would replace the mobile phones of students, broken during the demonstrations, and doors in the girls hostel washrooms would be replaced.”

Editor’s note: If there are any further developments, we are keeping a=our eye on them.

Image source: YouTube

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A postgraduate student of Political Science at Presidency University, Kolkata. Describes herself as an intersectional feminist and an avid reader when she's not busy telling people about her cats. Adores walking around and exploring read more...

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