June 26, 2010

Times of India

Teachers tread warily around sexual harassment incidents

MUMBAI: Sexual harassment is one of those prickly subjects that never makes it to the school curriculum. And when instances of harassment or abuse do occur at schools or colleges, most institutions sweep the matter under the carpet for fear of damaging their reputation. In several cases in the past, when girls have been molested by school staff, peons, etc, management often chose to hush up the matter or not take the complaints seriously.

The principal of a suburban school, which ultimately sacked a bus driver for sexually harassing a kindergarten student a year ago, told TOI that the child in question may not have got the facts right and may have imagined the incident. Another suburban school successfully hushed up a similar incident by threatening parents with dire consequences if they spoke to the press.

When a teenager from a popular Churchgate college was dragged out of the college premises and forced into a taxi by a spurned suitor, the lady principal of the college was far more upset about the newspaper coverage that the incident received than the fact that one of her students was in danger of being raped. And though the girl was rescued by a passerby, neither her parents nor the college were particularly interested in following the case to its logical conclusion, or getting the boy arrested.

“I think it’s important for principals to understand that the damage done to their reputation is not a patch on the trauma that victims of harassment face,’’ said social psychologist Chandni Parekh, who has developed modules on sexual harassment that she has conducted in schools and colleges. “I know of a number of instances where parents accompany children for gymnastics classes and swimming lessons, to ensure that the child is not harassed by the instructor,’’ she said, adding that many school counsellors may not be not equipped to deal with cases of trauma and sexual abuse.

1 comment:

Let Go...Let Peace Come In said...

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Pooja Mehta and I am the Administrative Director for a newly formed nonprofit called the Let Go...Let Peace Come In Foundation. Our mission at LGLPCI is to help heal and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse worldwide. We are actively seeking adult survivors who would be willing to post their childhood photo & caption, their story, or their creative expressions to our website www.letgoletpeacecomein.org. By uniting survivors from around the globe we hope to provide a stronger and more powerful voice to those survivors who have not yet found the courage to speak out or have been cast aside with disbelief.

I am writing to you today to ask you to please consider sharing our website with survivors you may come in contact with. Worldwide there are more than 100 million adult survivors living with the effects of childhood sexual abuse today. It is through the support of courageous advocates like you that we will succeed in our effort to help one survivor at a time. Our organization offers survivors a safe and judgment-free place where they can tell their story and continue their healing process. We realize that customs differ from culture to culture and we offer to post any stories anonymously, if the survivors so desires. Please check out our youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4PDC03Gl2k. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me directly at pm@letgoletpeacecomein.org. Together we can; together we should; together we NEED to stand up and be counted.

Warmest Regards,
Pooja Mehta
Administrative Director
Let Go...Let Peace Come In Foundation
111 Presidential Blvd., Suite 212
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004