By Anushree Pratap (UG ‘23) and Ishita Ahuja (UG ‘23) A survey conducted from August 6
Dhiya Sony, Class of 2021
On 20th July 2018, Ashoka University submitted two reports to the UGC, listing the number of cases filed at the University’s Committee Against Sexual Harassment (CASH) and the action taken by the committee on those cases in the past two years.
Among other things, the reports reveal that only seven cases of sexual harassment were filed with the Committee last year, as well as the year before that.
“The greatest challenge that faces us is underreporting”
In the recent CASH town hall, Professor Nayanjot Lahiri, the newly appointed Chair of Ashoka’s CASH, was quoted as saying, “In the Internal Complaints Committee, the greatest challenge that faces us is underreporting of cases. I do think in Ashoka University, there are a lot of cases which do not get reported.”
The issue of under-reporting renders this whole process futile. There could be a number of reasons behind this: fear of backlash or repercussion, of negative publicity, lack of knowledge on how to report and to whom and sometimes even dissatisfaction with the method of redressal. Professor Lahiri also suggested that at times, victims did not think that the harassment that they had gone through amounted to something serious enough to be reported to a higher authority.
In a bid to tackle this problem, the Feminist Collective has come up with a novel initiative named #WhyIDidn’tReport. As a part of this, they have put up boxes around the campus, encouraging people to share the reasons they didn’t report their harassment to authorities. The aim, according to the Collective, is to ‘foster a conversation around the larger #MeToo movement.’
The collective also organised a small get together ‘for people to share, vent, and discuss experiences and reactions surrounding #MeToo in India and Ashoka.’ These initiatives are in tandem with Professor Lahiri’s call to the student body to help build conversation around sexual harassment and to ‘build up trust’.
Dhiya Sony is a staff writer at The Edict