Sexual harassment on educational campuses

Sexual harassment accusations have recently been levelled against male faculty members at two public universities.


Aroosa Shaukat February 19, 2013
The FDE currently oversees 422 educational institutions in all. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Sexual harassment accusations have recently been levelled against male faculty members at two public universities of the city – the Punjab University and the Government College University – by a female teacher and a student respectively.

Both varsities have constituted committees to investigate the claims. Those accused of harassment have been suspended from service till the inquiries are completed. The frequency of such incidents being reported at educational institutions is increasing. The Express Tribune’s Aroosa Shaukat talks to NGOs working on the issue and a Punjab University teacher on a harassment committee. She also takes a look at the laws and guidelines that define harassment and the punishment prescribed.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.

COMMENTS (1)

Sri Aiyer Raju Sreenivasan | 9 years ago | Reply

The more educated you are, the more crooked your thought process can become. You then know the loopholes existing in the law books, and you know the ways and means of putting it to your advantage. That is all the more easier in an atmosphere where the laws are one-sided. The laws as existing in India in general and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, New Delhi) in particular, on matters pertaining to Sexual Harassment (SH) the woman complainant is protected even if her complaint is convincingly proved to be false. This gives her the advantage of shooting in the dark and hitting the target as well.

I was a Stenographer at JNU from 1976 till 2010. I pride myself in the fact that I don't tolerate being taken for a ride. So much so in late 70s I was accused of slapping a male Marxist Professor in his Office when he cheated me of my wages towards typing his nephew's MTech dissertation. (His nephew was a student of IIT). Well. About 7 years prior to my retirement there was this argument with a former friend of mine (of nearly 20 years) Prof. Dr. Miss Shankari Sundararaman whose shenanigans on one particular subject, I tolerated for nearly 18 months; however on that fateful day of 10 Apr 2008, I couldn't stand it no more, that I told her to shut up and mind her own business. All that I have written in my post yesterday. The finer details can be googled up should one search for RAJU SEX JNU SHANKARI, and you will get enormous material on the subject, if one is so inclined one can go through it and glean the entire story.

The law-makers in Pakistan have done a remarkable job in that this SH laws are gender-neutral unlike in India where the lady can shoot and scoot. In fact so-called liberal members active in party-circuits encourage women into giving false complaints; their idea is somehow a man has to be punished because he is not a woman. Their argument is that should a woman be penalized for lodging unsubstantiated complaint, then she would be discouraged from complaining at all. The established norm worldwide in jurisprudence that even if a 100 criminals escape punishment, one innocent person should not be punished is thrown out the window and stomped at the altar of "encouraging women into lodging SH complaint against men".

Even the apparent difference in rank is not taken into account while supporting the wishful hallucinations of a frustrated woman as happened in my case. The complainant is a full-fledged Professor and a PhD to boot. The defendant i.e., my humble self, is a lowly Stenographer, but yet everybody in the Administration starting from the Vice-Chancellor supported her falsehood and had me compulsorily retired.

What the law-makers and the society at large has to recognize is that if such wanton complainants can exist in an "exalted" place of learning such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, it is all the more reason the laws should be perfectly neutral and should have in-built penalty clauses which would discourage misogynists or misandrists from taking to SH laws to settle their private scores.

The people of Pakistan, their legislators, and their academics need to be saluted for looking at SH as a human problem in general and dealing with it as such!

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