Published: 07th May 2019
IIT Madras shocker: Man verbally harasses student, sits 'on her' on campus bus, as driver, others remain mum
The student, has penned a Facebook post explaining the incident. Reportedly, nobody came in support of her when she raised her voice
For an IIT Madras student, a bus ride inside the institute on Sunday evening turned out to be one of the most horrifying incidents of her life. Not only was she leched on and touched inappropriately, but even when she raised her voice, nobody came to her support.
According to a Facebook post put up by the victim, a man who boarded the institute bus at the Velachery gate stood in front of her, stared at her chest, raised his eyebrows and then sat in the seat in front of her. "He then turned and asked if he could sit with me. I said no. He insisted — not once, but twice. He then continued to turn back and look at me, staring at my chest," she wrote in the post.
Later, she asked him if he was an IIT Madras student to which he said that he belonged to the Civil Engineering department. She also asked him his name after that. But without responding, he just got up from his seat and sat on hers, resisting her attempt to block him. "In the process, he ended up half sitting on me, while pushing me aside to make space for himself. I shouted at him, telling him that he has to get up and he refused, saying that he will get up only at his stop. I kept shouting at him to get up and he didn't move. So I was forced to get up from my seat," she says.
Though she moved away, the man continued to speak to her. He asked her, "Do you think people on this campus support women?" To this, she threatened to place a complaint with the sexual harassment cell and asked him for the final time why he imposed himself and sat with her. His answer was completely shocking, "I was attracted," he told her. The fact that she was visibly upset by the whole incident did little to move him, "When I asked him how he could sit with me, after I told him not to, and that he was misbehaving, he said he wasn't misbehaving," she says.
What is strangely chilling is the fact that the co-passengers and the driver kept silent through the whole episode. "While I was shouting at the guy, he (the driver) kept turning but didn't say a word. No one else on the bus did either," she says. Even though there were around eight people inside the bus, no one apparently said a word, even when the man shoved and touched her and when she raised her voice at him, "I went and informed the driver of the incident in Tamil and he didn't respond at all."
Responding to the incident, the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) in IIT Madras said, "Incidents of moral policing, vigilantism and harassment are on the rise in the campus. The lax attitude of the IIT Madras administration in handling complaints of moral policing and harassment sends the wrong message. It is also a matter of great concern that the perpertrator believed that the people on campus would not stand in support of women. We demand that CCASH take proactive measures towards sensitisation of the staff, students and faculty members of IIT Madras on gender issues."