Published: 09th August 2021
Stalked me inside and outside the campus for three days: Teachers share horror stories of sexual harassment by students
You'd be surprised at how often this happens and is hushed up. The question of why doesn't seem to arise too often. And we need to ask why
After a glut of accusations of sexual harassment, misbehaviour and misconduct were levelled against teachers in several Chennai schools — leading to what many have called Chennai schools' #MeToo movement — the tables appear to have turned. Several teachers and teaching assistants have begun to come forward with complaints of inappropriate behaviour against their students — extending to stalking and the sending of lewd images over social media. However, no formal cases have been registered in this regard.
Singer Chinmayi Sripaada tweeted screenshots of the messages she received where several teachers, including a research scholar allegedly working in Chennai's prestigious Loyola College, alleged sexual harassment by students. Chinmayi tweeted a screenshot where a teacher tells her it is very common for female teachers to be subjected to sexual harassment in "male-dominated colleges".
The screenshot reads, "From time to time we are given teaching assignments. None of the young female professors are spared by the students. A UG student from the Maths department from a completely different block came to me one day and started asking where I lived and all that." Her ordeal gets worse. When she asked him why he wanted to know, the student is believed to have told her "lla ma'am. Neenga romba beautiful ah irukeenga. Adhan. (It's because you are very beautiful, ma'am). Her immediate reaction after the incident was to completely avoid the student, and just when she thought it couldn't get worse, the student started stalking her "inside and outside the campus" for three days.
By then, it was too much for her to take, so she took his ID card and threatened to take him to the Vice Principal. And here it gets more terrifying, as the screenshot reads, "Since he was a first-year student, he wasn't aware of the management's negligence (towards cases of harassment) and he got scared." But that was only a band-aid on the entire situation, a temporary fix. The student disappeared for a while before he was back again. "Then my teaching assignment ended and I didn't have to face him after that. It's normalised and such a common thing, especially in colleges where the majority are boys," the screenshot read.
Edex has reached out to Loyola College for their side of the story, but there was no response. The copy will be updated if they do.
The tweet has many more instances of teachers and scholars who say they were subjected to sexual harassment either by students, their peers. or their family members. One such tweet has a screenshot where the daughter of a 50-year-old government school teacher reveals how her mother is subjected to blatant harassment by students without the fear of adverse consequences.
The screenshot reads, "A student of hers sent her d**k pics from his own damn number. She was harassed by a lot of students calling and abusing her." The screenshot goes to suggest that the teachers' male colleagues asked her to "ignore the matter because she's a woman who has daughters who have to get married in the future. You're from a respectable family so you got to be silent"
Many of these instances have seen a marked uptick since the pandemic began — following which classes have gone online and teachers and students have been pushed to a situation where they have to communicate over the mobile phone more often than they normally would. Cases of sexual harassment, even when the perpetrators are juveniles, can be brought to the notice of the police — and formal complaints filed.