College campuses are places where the future of the country is made. Campus life is supposed to prepare students to become contributing members of society. However, many college and university campuses in India do not provide a safe environment for many of its female students. Most college campuses actively organise fests , competitions, and other cultural events But as the incident in Gargi college in Delhi , where a group of intoxicated men molested female students during a college event, shows these often act as the backdrop to sexual violence on campus. College festivals, especially when open to the public, is a breeding ground for such dehumanising behaviour as there is very little crowd control or monitoring.
Despite the lack of lack of media attention, campus violence is extremely widespread in India. It can be seen in multiple ways. The lack of balance of power between students and faculty members fosters an unhealthy environment where
professors can ask students for sexual favours in return for grades or academic favours. Further adding to the problem, hazing or ragging as it is known in India legitimises behaviour which if performed outside a campus, would surely be
considered criminal as the prevailing campus culture in our society acts as a safety net for students engaging in ragging no matter how severe the deed is. These activities can include sexual assault, verbal abuse, harassment and rape.
College administrations tend to have a callous attitude towards any part of student life that does not include their academics. Such an atmosphere further exaggerates the problem. If colleges are willing to take action and ensure a committee for grievances redressal as well as strict penalties for offenders, we can expect a curb in the number of cases being underreported in the country. As a nation with 50% of the population under the age of 25, we must not only focus on increasing the number of students enrolling for higher education, which is what the government focuses on, but also ensure their safety and security during their vital years in college.
Jairah Anna Jomilal
Aks Blog writer
(Currently pursuing MBBS at Dr DY Patil medical college Pimpri, Pune.)