Treat them with dignity

Even as the #MeToo movement exposed the ugly face of top men in various fields, sexual crimes against women do not seem to be decreasing. The recent incident, in which a second-year undergraduate student of a leading private university on the outskirts of Chennai was allegedly sexually harassed by a male sanitation worker inside a women’s hostel lift, was not just shocking, but also proved that predators could go to any extent and breach any security system just to fulfil their lust.

Though the university officials and the police have acted swiftly (initially, a protest was conducted by the students alleging inaction by the institution’s management) and the accused has been arrested, more needs to done to ensure the safety and dignity of women. In this incident too, the university cited practical difficulties such as getting consent from the student’s parents to file complaint with the police as the reason behind delay in action. Another concern in such issues is victim-shaming. Here, too, the hostel warden (who has been suspended) has been accused of brushing the student’s concern aside and instead indulging in victim-shaming by questioning the clothes that the victim was wearing.

As a society, we should come forward to remove these unwanted and ugly obstacles. It took a #MeToo movement for women to come out and speak about the harassment they had faced many years ago. The sad reality is that only a minority has come out in the open and a majority of victims is still keeping silent for obvious reasons. All that women expect from men and society is to treat them with dignity and they deserve it. It’s the duty of everyone to provide them a safe atmosphere and make this world a better place to live in for all.

NT Bureau