Sexual Harassment & Sexist Rules: Why Were Students Of Patna Women’s College Silent Earlier?

Posted on September 23, 2015 in Campus Watch

By Aditi Priya

Patna Women’s College (PWC) was the first women’s college in Bihar founded in 1940 by Bishop B.J. Sullivan S.J., Bishop of Patna and Mother M. Josephine A.C. Superior General of the Apostolic Carmel. Bishop Sullivan believed that the upliftment of Bihar lays in liberating its women by providing with higher and quality education to them. PWC is one of the most prestigious colleges in Bihar; it is considered the ultimate education destination for those girls who can’t pursue higher education outside the state. But recently it came in the news due to a protest against the teacher who allegedly sexually harassed several students. When students complained about this to the Principal Sister Marie Jessie, they got the reply that he (Professor Sanjay Dutta) ‘only’ touched her and not raped her.

patna women's college

An article mentioned that Patna’s Senior Superintendent of Police said“Additional security forces have been deployed in and outside the college and now the situation is peaceful.” The protest was also supported by students’ unions like AISF (All India Students’ Federation) and ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad).

This is the case of ‘PWC’, the same college where students are not allowed to wear kurtas above knee length, must cover themselves with a dupatta properly, are not allowed to carry mobile phones and can’t even keep it in the bike with them, must not touch chairs placed for cabinet members in the cabinet section, not wear kurtas with net designs on it, must not wear fitting leggings below kurta, or write anything against the establishment.

Given the above situations, how could you expect your administration to act against something that is making you feel like an object? The statement given by the principal is nothing different from what she has obligated everyone in the college to teach and preach. During this protest the group is divided into two parts, one is fully supporting the protest and another wants a peaceful solution to it, for them it is not right to bring out other issues at this time and they must focus on only one problem and get rid of it only. Some students posted about the ongoing issue on Facebook but removed it a day later, in an attempt to imply that they are ‘good’ students and do not want any trouble for a problem that is not theirs.

But the question that arises here is – Why were no questions raised in the beginning only? Why didn’t anyone speak up sooner? That’s exactly what happened in the PWC, the long suppressed anger of the students has finally found a way to echo in the deaf ears of the administration and of all those who are ignorant of the fact that freedom actually means something to them.

Maybe it was not the fault of the principal alone, maybe the teacher was not the only person who is guilty. Maybe we all helped the principal in forcing such baseless rules on us and supported her narrow thinking by agreeing to them. Maybe when we didn’t speak up earlier when the same teacher said something offensive in the class or touched our friend with wrong intentions, or even looked at a girl with disrespect, we also contributed to his crime to some extent. But now the time has come to help push the protest against everything wrong happening with us or with anyone around us.

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