I Rejected My Award To Protest Against Harassment of Women in Kerala Colleges
'I feel that colleges in Kerala aren't doing enough to protect women from abuse.'
Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
A few months back, a 22-year-old student was stabbed to death by her classmate in a campus in Kerala for not willing to be in a toxic relationship. In another case, Deepa P Mohanan, a Dalit PhD scholar had to execute hunger strike to fight casteism in the MG University campus.
No, everything is not fine here in Kerala. A lot of people have plenty of things to say, especially women.
My name is Mileena Saju. I was a student of Union Christian College, Aluva, Kerala, during the academic year 2018-2021. I came as the university topper this year in History, but rejected the UC College Award for the same, protesting the denial of justice to the women community in the college and in other campuses in Kerala.
This is not just my story, this is not just my protest. I'm representing all the students of Union Christian College, who have been fighting against the harassment that women inside the college have to go through.
A student of 2016-19 batch, of UC College, revealed an incident of sexual harassment that she had to face from a professor, through her instagram page. A complaint was filed to the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the college on 22 August 2020.
After a long struggle by the student community, ICC report was released on 26 April 2021. The report concluded that the complaints against the professor are not sustainable in justifying his act as his normal behaviour, which the students of UC College often misinterpret.
A similar report was released by the college around the same time, regarding the ragging of a professor's 13-year-old daughter within the college premises.
"ICC’s primary concern during the entire period of investigation of the harassment case was why the victim took a long time to come out. There was no sensitivity shown to the severe trauma the victim had to suffer."
What are the principles and regulations followed by these committees? It is nothing but an elaborate show with no student representative or lawyers to give legal guidance.
We live in a society where the atrocities faced by women are largely ignored, or, normalised. You realise how ugly and scary it is, only when it happens to you, or to someone near you.
Change happens only with this realisation, and with determination, you somehow muster up, realising ‘enough’s enough’.
One cannot simply ignore these as unfortunate events that somehow happened in a college somewhere in Kerala that needs to be individually addressed. This is not an issue concerning just our college. This shows a fault in the supposed democracy and progressiveness that all the campuses in Kerala represent and uphold.
I believe every campuses in Kerala have similar stories to tell. The stories about how women are systematically discriminated against. From election candidateship in general seats, to the stories of how toxic male friendship groups rule the campuses, and the untold stories of harassment, discrimination, and exploitation.
The violence that we face and our struggle against this often fails to go beyond a few newspaper headlines. It never brings us justice or a lasting solution. This is why the campuses of Kerala should start speaking. History requires us to be political, to be vocal, and that we all should be feminists.
(The Quint has reached out to the Union Christian College for their response. Their response is awaited. The Story would be updated and their response would be added.)
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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