food for thought

SVNIT against Sexual harassment; What exactly do you NEED to know?

How do I put it?

Interesting things happen when you are the one who is being sexually assaulted. You want to say things out loud but then actually you don’t. You are constantly living in this world of dread and you want to escape it but then you don’t. You have friends to confide in and you want to tell all the things about what you are going through but then you don’t.

Why? Because you are a coward?

No.

We often fail to notice but world runs on a thin thread called trust. Sexual assault is NOT a joke. Even If I have finally decided to speak up, I am still bound to go back and forth about revealing something like this to someone. What if the other person doesn’t trust me? What if it all backfires and I am the one who gets blamed? (It happens more often than you think it does) What if I am the one who ends up facing the worst consequences? What about my grades? What about my career?

Whom do I fucking trust?

It’s not an easy decision. And you NEED to know that.

When someone tells you about how she is being abused. You NEED to believe her. She is probably telling you all this because she believes that you trust her.

We don’t tell you not because we are coward but because we don’t trust you. If you want to genuinely help us please first show how much you care about us or all this.

And that is what you NEED to know.

So I finally decide to speak up. I tell my friends. I make them promise they wouldn’t TELL anyone else. I stay away from that guy. End of story.

Or is it?

That is not how you end a story. That is a pretty fucked up ending! But can there be any alternative ending?

I can go tell some faculty members I trust but what if they don’t trust me back? So, under this fear I just decide to be silent. It’s a matter of four years. I will be out of the college after that. That’s a pretty good strategy.

But of course it sucks.

Vengeance is a good thing to seek. But it comes with a high price tag.

But then something unexpected happens. I find an angel in disguise. And it is just the beginning of a storm aiming to sweep all the dirt that has been accumulated over the years.

Was it easy for me to say all the things that I have been through? No. And yet I decide to do that. Why? Quite luckily, I’ve found people who I know will help me out.  I have friends who I know are going to stand by my side. They care about me and maybe that’s why they are doing so much.

So does that mean that you are not bound to do anything because you don’t know me? Does that mean you are going to wait until something happens to you or the ones you care about?

What? Don’t you have any principles of your own? You are going to wait until someone is brutally raped and left on the street with a rod inserted inside her and then shout out slogans of how it should not have happened?

Yeah. That is a pretty good stand.

Greatest place in hell is reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in the most desperate situations.

And that is what you NEED to know.

Maybe you will speak up once you know the victim. Maybe you will speak up once something awfully gruesome has happened to me.  Maybe even then you wouldn’t do anything. Wow, you do have a high tolerance. I deeply admire your don’t-give-a-single-fuck attitude.

Funny things happen when something like this comes out from the closet of secrecy. Everybody wants to know who the victim is. Maybe once they know they will go to her and console her and yet they wouldn’t fight for her.

You are busy! You have better things to do! Of course, I understand that. But I do wish that you would have been able to spare some time fighting against something that is rapidly devouring upon society and humanity. You think it’s just my fight. But that is not true. And that is what you NEED to know.

Letting the ugly cat out of the bag was probably the hardest I have ever done. But I am glad to see that it is creating ripples. The ripples are small but then it is just the beginning. There are days when I lose all my hope but then the next morning it comes back with greater force. I have created something that I didn’t know I was capable of creating.

Report would be submitted. Actions will be taken. I have no idea when. But I am going to be patient. And I am not going to forget. And I am not going to let you forget it either.

I don’t want police. I don’t want FIRs. I don’t care if the culprit rots in jail. All I care about is that he of out the department. Out of the college. Out of the campus. Out of my life. And out of the lives of all those who could have been his victim in future.

And you think it’s just my fight.

You couldn’t have been more wrong.

 

Extra note for all those who want know:-

SVNIT (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Institute of Technology, Surat) – what the hell is going on there?

There had been several “rumors” of molestation in the institute before but it was just recently that they all came out to be true. Some recent cases of harassment with present students just added the needed spark to the hidden fire and finally they as well as some faculty members have decided to put their feet down – Something we should have done long time ago.

You DON’T have to know the victims (if you do then assume it’s me) but you do need to know the seriousness of the situation. You do need to know that there are some things that are worth giving a damn.

First time (and as of now the only time regarding this case), we went on the protest and Internal complaint committee (ICC) was formed. And in a way, our protest was partially successful.  But the story is far from its end.

Though the culprits have been temporarily suspended, they can still come back as if nothing ever happened. Once the ICC report has been submitted, we want just one action from the administration;

Permanent Termination

We understand it’s not something that can be dealt within 24 hours. It is going to take time. But we are going to make sure it doesn’t take too much time.

Are we going to get back to our normal routine and let the authorities handle it by themselves in whatever time span they want to?

No, we are going to remind them what needs to reminded. We are not going to forget and we are not going to let them forget.

One person can’t do that but several people AS ONE can.

We have been asked several times about the evidence. What you need to know is that there is nothing called evidence. A victim’s statement alone is the greatest evidence. In our case, we don’t have statement just from one person. We have them from many students and that is good enough for“evidence”.

We DON’T WANT FIRs. We don’t want publicity. We just WANT JUSTICE.

And that is why we gather in front of administrative building every day. No violence. No slogans. No drama. No bunks. We are keeping it clean. And we hope that the administration keeps it clean as well.

 

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “SVNIT against Sexual harassment; What exactly do you NEED to know?”

  1. Saloni – I am student of the class of 2007 and have been following this story since it broke. Just wanted to write in here to say, Kudos! Kudos for not being quiet as we were, kudos for wanting to see this to the end, kudos for not getting disheartened by the lack of support that you see around you.

    I also wanted to let you know that you are not alone in this. I am working with a bunch of other women alumni of different batches to draft a letter in your support and demand stern action so the authorities know that you are not alone in this fight and that they have ignored this atrocity and demanded “evidence” for too long. If there are specific things that you would like us to include as action steps to propose, please don’t hesitate to let me know. You’ll see my email along with this comment and you can write to me there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for all what you are doing, Ellie. Your support is essential to us and I assure you if there is anything that you as an alumni of this institute, should know or would like to know, I wouldn’t hesitate to personally mail you and inform you. Again, thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Saloni,

        I am an alum from the class of 2008. Please let alums know through the linkedin and facebook groups whatever support alums can offer in bringing the culprits to justice.

        There were several instances when male staff would make female students uncomfortable in class, and worse – the security and the hostel section staff would openly allow rampant eve teasing at the college gate every evening. Back then, anyone who protested would be summarily dismissed as a ‘killjoy’ both by students and faculty. Glad to know that students are much more committed to a diverse and inclusive campus – and will not take any harassment lying down.

        Way to go. We are with you.

        Jayanth.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s