Student Of Madras University Alleges Sexual Harassment By HoD, Claims He Said She Was ‘Powerless’
It was once said that ‘with great power comes great responsibility”. Power can be all consuming, so much so that it can make you want to exploit those you exert this power over, and it is a dangerous little game to play. One that if not kept an eye on, can turn real ugly real quick, like in a case reported by a 31-year-old student studying in the Madras University, who has alleged that she has been sexually harassed by the HoD on the university.
A shocking incident that has come to the fore after a 31-year-old student filled a complaint against her Head of Department, for allegedly harassing her in front of 4 other boys in his office in March 16. The matter has said to have come up after 5 students, 4 boys and the woman decided to go to the HoD to discuss discrepancies in their semester exam scores. They implied that due to previous protests that they had conducted over hostel fees, the university had deliberately failed them. However, upon re-evaluation, the students were given passing marks. It was during this very discussion that the victim claims to have been attacked by the HoD, saying that he pushed her on the chest and touched her inappropriately.
She said, “He then abused me and said I am powerless to do anything against. He pushed me on my chest at least three more times even though I strongly objected to his touching me. The HoD even pushed one of the male students who was with me when he tried to stop him.”
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— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) March 23, 2021
Allegedly, the students then started holding protests in the campus, to raise their voice against the harassment, with no apology from the HoD on the matter. The victim then went on to complain to the university’s sexual harassment cell on March 17, post which she was called for an enquiry by the internal complaints committee. On March 18, when she attended the enquiry however, she alleges the committee was biased and shamed her in process, while protecting the HoD and his stance. It wouldn’t have been a surprise, that once again, a man in power was able to sway the odds in his favour by pulling strings.
She alleged, “They questioned my character and asked why I was protesting and sleeping on campus with the boys in my class. They kept saying that the HoD would have touched me by mistake and tried to dismiss my claims. They didn’t conduct enquiries with the witnesses properly either, claiming lack of time.” It is after such events and exasperation of not being taken seriously, that the students claim the victim had hurt her own self on Sunday.
Students of Ancient History and Archaeology in the University of Madras staged a demonstration demanding action against their head of department (HOD) for assaulting a female student in his class.#assault #HOD #Students #protest #Chennaihttps://t.co/DoksSookOF
— DT Next (@dt_next) March 18, 2021
One of the male student who was present during the assault claimed, “The HoD has filed a complaint against us but the University is not telling exactly what the complaint is. The police are refusing to take a complaint and are asking us to deal with the matter internally. But the university officials are supporting the HoD without taking our point of view into consideration.”
The matter is yet to be investigated thoroughly, and we hope that the truth prevails and due punishment is meted out of the people in the wrong