A few years ago, I received a phone call from a colleague’s relative who was a student in a renowned business school. She said she was unable to concentrate on her studies. She felt like discontinuing her studies because a visiting faculty member, who is a professor of Asian American origin from a US university, is alleged to have resorted to unwanted sexual statements, touching, patting, pinching, stroking, squeezing, tickling, or brushing against a person.
At some of the public and private universities in the country, there has been a tendency of complaining that lecturers were demanding sex from the students in exchange for academic favors. This is a serious offence and it is required that it be investigated impartially and quickly. It is also important not to be trapped by living with the results of other people’s thinking. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
Trust your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path. While these scandals are motivated by either money or lust, don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own voice.
In many cases they thrive upon the wide political influences enjoyed by vested interests available in the education sector. Usually money changes hands, and men demand sexual favors from women. The students that are enrolled for Doctoral programs, PhDs, professional courses, and other higher level programs become victims as their future is in peril, resistless, and exposed to such predators.
No longer panicked, my colleague’s relative expressed her desires with intense emotion.
After a series of deliberations and careful analysis of the case, they decided to take up the matter with the Provost in the University and seek assistance regarding the sexual harassment and remarks. The school first launched its investigation into accusations of “repeated and systemic sexual harassment. The professor in such cases often makes sexually-coloured remarks, discusses his lectures with psychological examples of sex, often behaves in a perverted or sadistic way, and comments on the looks and figure of almost every girl. If a girl objects, he holds a grudge against her.”
There is a strong possibility that the complaint is linked to the difficult temperament of the teacher and the subsequent coursework offered by him.
Gadgets and tools such as cell phones, intranets, social intranets, internet blogs texting, messaging, private messages, social media, tracking and case software are increasingly a factor in teacher misconduct cases. Computers, laptops, iPhones usage, and exchanges via email, computers, sound systems, reality television, money, travel, clothes, cars, physical appearance, iPods, sex, popularity, books texting and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are an element in seven of every ten teacher-misconduct cases with a sexual component these days.
The real issue today is that more and more people think it is okay to cross boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. It leads us to think differently about ourselves, our values, and even the difficulties facing us.
“If I don’t get caught, it’s okay.” Now, in truth, the vast majority of teachers are moral and upright people and a few make the whole profession look bad. Let’s remember they actually have to change the good to great teachers that we need in our schools, colleges and universities with the few who may be termed as rotten apples.
As mentioned earlier that Social media influences teacher misconduct-cases to a great extent. They simply target girls who are in need of help by offering sexual favours in return. “It takes great courage for a young woman to refuse to be a part of this clandestine operation because everything they see in society, in literature, in movies, in books, usage and exchanges via email, money, travel, clothes, cars everything they hear from their peers is not only obnoxious but also awful and disgusting.”
Aihik Sur of New Indian Express News Service (Published: October 26, 2017) spoke to Raya Sarkar, the 24-year-old law student from University of California at Davis, who said that some of the professors she named as sexual harassers in her controversial Facebook post have been calling up their accusers and promising them help in getting to Oxford University.
Sur asks: “What prompted you to post such a list?”
Raya: People ask victims “Why now?” “Why 20 years later?”, and use that as a reason to dismiss allegations. One needs to understand the power assemblages at work that silence and prevent victims from speaking out.
Why am I doing this now? Because I feel Harvey Weinstein’s case has started many discussions and people are now more open to believing victims. The #MeToo campaign did trigger me to do this, and I took this opportunity to create a list to warn students using first-hand accounts from survivors. The list is primarily for students to be wary of these professors because in my opinion — knowing how college administrations function — these harassers will continue to hold their positions of power.
This may just be the beginning. NewsX, on October 26, 2017, reported a Facebook post by Raya Sarkar inviting others to name academics who have sexually harassed their students. It had gone viral, with more than 60 professors listed by name and the institution they are affiliated with.
Maybe there are a lot more—hundreds and thousands of people waiting to take a dig and post their concerns and ensure that their fight—will be met with justice, honour, righteousness, and triumph.
You have a say in this world, and you need to speak up. You have to work out a solution or be a part of it wherein children, teenagers, and young adults in higher education are allowed to report such cases. The state governments should come forward to implement a time-bound framework of introducing sexual harassment combat mechanisms in all schools and colleges. Also, an important point that can be made is to have a database for sexual offenders. No matter where the offence takes place irrespective of the outcome all the culprits must be made liable and visible to the online community.
Offenders should not escape with a mere dismissal. They should rather face consequences for life, for the irreversible psychological damage they do to survivors.