JNU Tweaks Invite To Sexual Harassment Session After Circular Receives Backlash

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JNU tweaks invite: After receiving severe backlash from students and teachers, Jawaharlal Nehru University has altered the language of its public invitation for counselling on sexual harassment.

It has removed the line “girls are supposed to know how to draw a tangible line between them and their male friends”. According to students, this line in the circular reeked of victim shaming. Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh criticised it a lot.

The step has been taken after the National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma sought withdrawal of the “misogynist” circular issued by the university. Tagging the circular on Twitter, Sharma said, “Why all the teachings are always for girls alone? Time to teach harassers not the victims. The misogynist circular of #JNU should be withdrawn. Internal committee should have victim-centred approach and not otherwise.”

“ICC come across a number of cases where sexual harassment takes place among close friends. Boys generally cross (sometimes advertently, sometimes inadvertently) the thin line between friendship’s bantering and sexual harassment. Girls are supposed to know how to draw a tangible line (between them and their male friends) to avoid any such harassments (sic),” the earlier invite read.

It all started when the Internal Complaints Committee or ICC of the university uploaded the invitation on JNU’s website. The circular said that it will organise counselling session on sexual harassment on January 17. It also said such sessions will become a monthly affair. The circular also stated that the ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards any kind of sexual harassment.

The subhead, “why is this counselling session required” has been replaced with “Boys will be counselled to clearly distinguish between friendship and behaviour that may be considered sexual harassment. Girls will be counselled how to avoid sexual harassment.”

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