Times are changing, Indian women are finally and boldly calling out their rapists and molesters through #MeToo. Social media is helping women stand up to their abusers and speak up about events that may have occurred even years ago, some all the way back in college. Most victims don't know that they have a sexual harassment cell on campus and even if they do, they don't know how to approach them or if doing so would get them in trouble.
In order to help students who might not know how to go about the complaint, here's a detailed account of what qualifies as sexual harassment and what you can do to get help.
What qualifies as sexual harassment?
According to the UGC (Prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015, this is what qualifies as sexual harassment
An unwanted conduct with sexual undertones, it could sometimes also be persistent and which demeans, humiliates or creates a hostile and intimidating environment or is calculated to induce submission by actual or threatened adverse consequences and includes any one or more or all of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication), namely,
a) Any unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature;
b) Demand or request for sexual favours;
c) Making sexually coloured remarks, physical contact and advances; or showing pornography
d) Anyone (or more than one or all) of the following circumstances, if it occurs or is present in relation or connected with any behaviour that has explicit or implicit sexual undertones-
e) Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment as quid pro quo for sexual favours;
f) Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in the conduct of work;
g) Implied or explicit threat about the present or future status of the person concerned;
What should you do if you're being sexually harassed in your institution?
According to the University Grants Commission's regulations, every college and university has to have an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) which will consider all cases of sexual harassment faced by students/faculty. Any faculty member who receives a similar complaint must forward this to the ICC. Students can also directly approach the ICC members. Their names and contact details must be mandatorily available to all students.
When should you make the complaint?
The complaint must be made within three months of the incident.
How does the ICC function?
The Committee shall discuss and decide on the complaints' jurisdiction to deal with the case or reject. They issue the notice to the respondent within 7 working days of receipt of the complaint and 10 working days shall be given for submission of reply. The Committee will also provide assistance to the aggrieved woman, if she so chooses, to file a police complaint in relation to an offence under Indian Penal Code.