For a lecturer, subjected to sexual harassment for over four years by her colleague who was also the Head of the Department of Tamil, the long wait for justice appears to be elusive with the Loyola College management sitting over the probe panel report which had indicted him as well as two other faculty members.
Despite the delay, the victim, Josephine Jayashanthi, has not lost hope and is prepared to carry on her fight, which she has been waging single-handedly.
While the committee set up to look into the issue had found the charges against Prof S A Rajarajan to be true and submitted its report before the close of the last academic year, he continues to be on the faculty of Tamil. The panel has also found lecturer A Prince of being guilty of colluding with Rajarajan and subjecting Jayashanthi to sexual harassment.
Jayashanthi had submitted the complaint against Rajarajan, then HoD and now a senior faculty member, on December 13, 2012. But, her expectation of swift action from the college authorities proved futile and things got worse with Rajarajan getting emboldened to harass her more. He even allegedly prepared a counter-complaint with 62 points purely aimed at character assassination of Jayashanthi.
Jayashanthi was made to wait for three months for a panel to be constituted to look into the complaint. Curiously enough, the college management decided to form another committee which provided more time to the defendant to continue his harassment at work-place. The reasons given by the management included that it had to be in conformity with the Visaka case ruling of the Supreme Court.
Finally, she appeared before the committee on March 19 and the probe was completed and the report too was submitted later. Interestingly, Rajarajan has not even been suspended despite the gravity of the charges. Several teaching staff and office bearers of Catholic Associations allegedly attempted to persuade her to withdraw the complaint on the plea that the probe would only tarnish the image of 87-year-old Jesuit institution. But, she had refused to buy the argument and stood firm.
A member of the probe committee told Express that there was harassment in terms of sexual advances by Rajarajan. “It is how we look at it. He had made advances, but she did not fall prey to the pressure. He kept up the pressure and she had lodged the complaint,” the member said. Another member revealed that the report had indicted Rajarajan and Prince, who were comrades in arms in targeting Jayashanthi. Both expressed surprise at the institution protecting the duo.