SheThePeople.TV kicked off its first session of Digital Trust Dialogue at Satyawati College of Delhi University. The talk revolved around sexual harassment in the Digital space in collaboration with Google. Since we all know today with social media seeping into our personal lives, it has the ability to impact our mindsets in both positive and negative manner. However, as we finished with the panel discussion with lawyer and Co-founder of Ungender, Esha Shekhar, UN legal consultant Risha Syed and social media influencer and All India Student Association (AISA) chief Kawalpreet Kaur on online harassment, about 30-50 men from the College union disrupted the event and harassed Kaur.
The union members who are allegedly from the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also attacked the professors present at the event. People from the gang shouted and demanded removal of Kaur from the college. As Kaur tried to take a picture of the scene, she was stopped by the secretary of the college union, Kunal, who also threatened her.
I was in a panel discussion today organized by Satyawati College Family counseling center, google and she the people TV on online harassment. When the event was going on 40 ABVP goons came in and disrupted the event. Attacked professors and were after my life. Picture of talk pic.twitter.com/FOr8dE7p7X
— Kawalpreet Kaur (@kawalpreetdu) February 22, 2018
ALSO READ: Intimidating women and threatening them is not politics
A few minutes later, two police officers reached the scene who also failed to bring the situation to a calm but one of them managed to get Kaur out of the auditorium. But while Kaur accompanied by a few college students and the police personnel was coming out of the scene, the union secretary again tried to threaten Kaur and had the audacity to ask the police where he is taking Kaur? This worked up Kaur and the rest as the police stayed silent.
Now I know what women like Kawal Preet and @mehartweets face in colleges #trolls https://t.co/VOBgrdywoD
— Shaili Chopra SHE THE PEOPLE (@shailichopra) February 22, 2018
After that, Kaur along with an STP correspondent and two college students left for Bharatnagar police station and as soon as she left, the people who had accumulated in the auditorium of the college dispersed. Kaur on reaching the police station has now filed an FIR against those who the college students could recognize in the gang.
At one end, where the men were hurling abuses at teachers, snatching other students phones and manhandling the crowd, on the other the college girls were crying for they feared their safety even in the college.
SheThePeople.TV continued to finish the event with a presentation from Google.
We organized a talk in collab with Google. And we had called .@kawalpreetdu as a speaker to talk on online sexual harassment. Right after the talk about 30-50 people barged into the audi of Satyawati College of #DelhiUniversity and started harassing her. @SheThePeopleTV
— Poorvi پوروی گپتا 🌈 (@PoorviGupta08) February 22, 2018
The whole scenario lasted about 30 minutes, but what was mind-boggling to see was how these group of men had assembled and created a ruckus only to intimidate and abuse one woman, Kaur. The scene at the college where we organised a talk on sexual harassment was one to see and showed a great example of how gender works in physical spaces. At one end, where the men were hurling abuses at teachers, snatching other students phones and manhandling the crowd, on the other the college girls were crying for they feared their safety even in the college.
Teachers—men and women alike—were subject to horrendous behaviour from these so-called students. And even the police stood there watching faces “trying to calm down the situation” and clearly failing at it.
“We have also demanded that a proctorial enquiry be conducted into the incident. We keep holding such events – this is the age when students should be most open to discussion and new ideas. If we knew that something like this might happen, we would have arranged for additional security at the event. Kawalpreet spoke well while describing her experience of online trolling, it’s a pity these people did not listen to her,” Sandhya Taneja, who teaches in the college’s commerce department, told The Wire.
On the panel, Kaur spoke about her experience of getting trolled and her pictures morphed and how she dealt with the mental trauma. She also spoke about how she reported the cyber violence that she went through. However, the people who barged into the event and heckled Kaur were also people who followed her online and trolled her in the online space. This only shows the basic necessity for such conversation to happen.