In what is definitely welcomed news, the University Grants Commission (UGC) launched new regulations which allow male students to file cases of sexual harassment against men, women and transgender people.
The UGC recently told higher education institutes ‘act decisively against all gender based violence perpetrated against employees and students of all sexes recognising that primarily women employees and students and some male students and students of the third gender are vulnerable to many forms of sexual harassment and humiliation and exploitation’. Delving further into some of the intricate details of the regulation reveals the procedure to file complaints, here are some of the finer points –
- The victim must file a complaint with the internal complaints committee (of their university) within 3 months of the incident, notwithstanding any major illness which prevented them from doing so
- Alternately a third party can also file a complaint for the victim. This can be a family member, friend, colleague, classmate or any other associate. They can file the complaint if the victim is unable to do so due to “physical or mental incapacity or death”
- The internal complaints committee must complete their investigation within 90 days and authorities must take action 30 days after receiving this report.
- If found guilty a student will be expelled and teachers will be liable and processed according to service rules.
Now I know what you’re thinking shouldn’t this law have always been there? Well sadly the matter of men getting sexually harassed has been long overlooked, due to a number of reasons including the fact that people assume men don’t get harassed sexually. This is partly because men mostly don’t file complaints for sexual harassment out of fear of being ridiculed by society (Because apparently it’s not manly to be sexually assaulted). This law will hopefully serve as a stepping stone for removing the stigma around the issue.
The post December 16th 2010 environment in Delhi was tense, the whole city was shocked and we were lashing out, looking for harsher punishments for rapists. While that was a good cause to fight for, it left a lot of collateral damage in its wake.
One man who for no fault of his was caught in this aftermath was a 28 year old event organizer/ model. After spending the last 4 years fighting a case he has finally walked out of jail but not without the stigma of being a rapist. Here is his story –
“I was 25 years old when I met the girl through a friend in an event. She from then on began pursuing me to help her get some part-time work so that she could bear her expenses during her stint. On the day of the incident, she accompanied me to a meeting and on our way back, we went to my apartment in south Delhi along with my two other friends. We partied and then she was dropped home by a friend. The very next day she texted me and enquired about her lost earring. I do not know what happened after that. On February 5, 2013 an FIR was lodged against me accusing me of raping her,” he told MAIL TODAY.
She accused the man of forcing himself on her five times before he raped her.
He further added, “I was immediately arrested due to the pressure owing to the Nirbhaya incident and my bail was rejected. My name was flashed on channels for over a week. I had to share space with other criminals in Tihar for a year. With a bachelor’s degree in finance, I was planning to move to Germany but the whole incident changed my life. My passport was punched along with the license. As time passed, I lost my friends. Today, I am not left with anything. Even though I have been acquitted people are always going to be suspicious of me.”
Even, though the law did acquit the man after finding the statement of the girl to be unworthy of credence. Did justice really prevail? The man (Who has apparently chosen to remain anonymous) has after a long ordeal been found innocent, but still society looks at him with suspicion and he will never be able to get back the last 4 years of his life. Friends this could happen to you too, so please stay vigilant.
If you’d like to read more about this story please visit IndiaToday.in
Every story has two sides, admittedly in India there are a number of crimes against women. But does that mean that every man accused of a crime against a woman should be considered guilty just because he’s being accused of a crime by a woman? What happened to the norm of “Innocent until proven guilty”?
In recent years the nation and the law have rallied to protect women and that is a great step forward, but should protecting one sex mean berating and reducing the rights of the other? Women need to understand that while the law is there to protect them, cheapening it by using it to exploit or get back at men is only going to build mistrust between the genders. Remember crime has no gender and nor do the victims.
Check out the below video and tell us what you think? Does it worry you? If so, what can we do to make the law and society safer and fairer for both men and women?
Video copyright of Vaastav, please visit them to know about the great work they are doing for male empowerment.