Following the dissolution of the Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) committee in Jawaharlal Nehru University and formation of Internal Complaints Committee with a VC-elected member, the students are an unhappy lot. The recent attempt to teach self-defence is also drawing protests from the students’ end.
Students are of the view that self-defence training puts the impetus of ensuring safety on women. Women should feel a sense of freedom instead, they feel. Talking to SheThePeople.TV, Geeta Kumari, an ex-student representative of GSCASH, said, “We had these martial arts classes even earlier by the police but GSCASH never endorsed it. The members always felt that self-defence classes are something that is an individual’s choice. But this understanding that if you learn martial arts, sexual harassment won’t happen, we have a problem with this idea.”
“Self-defence will not stop people who stare at or stalk women. If someone is touching you, then you can kick back but sexual harassment is not about defence. They should conduct classes on understanding sexual abuse and sensitization of people,” she added.
“Self-defence will not stop people who stare at or stalk women. If someone is touching you then you can kick back, but sexual harassment is not about defence. They should conduct classes on understanding sexual abuse and sensitization of people”- Geeta Kumari, JNU student
It is basically saying that now you are equipped to defend yourself in times of distress. However, that shouldn’t be the basis of the organization, said Geeta Kumari.
On asking what kind of sensitization programmes did GSCASH run during its tenure, Kumari stated, “GSCASH used to have workshops, movie screenings, panel discussion on various issues related to sexual harassment at the sensitizing level. We used to talk about consent and the various ways that sexual harassment happens in society.”
GSCASH conducted these workshops in schools and colleges to engage with various groups of people, said Kumari. “We did these workshops in schools, with staff and also with teachers,” the second year M.Phil History student said.
In September, JNU administration had announced that the Vice-Chancellor will nominate six elected members of the ICC. JNU Chief Proctor Vibha Tandon is the committee’s chairperson. Since then, students from across the board have protested this development. They feel that the ICC will not be as approachable as the GSCASH in times of distress.
Picture credit- Deccan Herald
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