Roadside Sexual Harassers Outside Kinnaird College And Admin’s Indifference
Kinnaird College for Women is known for a lot of things — one of them being the fashion sense of its students. If you’ve studied at Kinnaird, you would know how girls there know how to dress and carry themselves even if they are under pressure due to their studies and hectic routine. But it is not easy for the women to dress the way they please as the administration has been placing restrictions on them lately. Some years ago when I was a student at Kinnaird, at one point we were asked not to wear jeans and those seen wearing jeans and ‘short shirts’ were fined. As time passed we ditched the restriction and it was not enforced that strictly, but there definitely was a great deal of moral policing at Kinnaird.
In this article I want to share with the readers how even the seemingly privileged women of Kinnaird are not save from sexual harassment. During my days at Kinnaird, we used to encounter several men endlessly ogling at us on the road next to the building, as we entered the campus. Even the presence of guards could not deter the desperate men who would often follow us from our college bus to the gate all the while cat-calling us. While waiting for my car outside the college, I have often been harassed by men who especially come and stay near the college gate during the off-time.
I remember how a friend of mine who was researching about the practice of harassment that takes place right outside our college told me that many of these men who stand outside the college pretend to be the relatives of the students who are there just to get them. But they are actually roadside harassers who stay outside the college under this false pretext of waiting for their fake sister or daughter. This tells us how men can go at extreme lengths for their lust.
The reason why I am writing this piece is that I was disappointed at the response the administration and the faculty of the college has towards these incidents of harassment. Once a classmate of mine was crossing the road bridge that leads from the other end of the road to the college. At the bridge, she was being followed by a man who came close to her and then pushed her. She fell down and asked for help. He was about to approach her when a group of women came to the site. He then stopped and ran away. The women helped my friend and took her to the college. She was thankfully not seriously hurt, but I could see that she was in a state of shock. When we told our supervisor what happened, the first thing she told my friend was that she should have been properly ‘covered’. Both of us were shocked at her cold response. “You should cover yourself with a dupatta when you are out. And avoid wearing short shirts. Better to be safe than sorry,” she said. She almost made it look like it was my friend’s fault that she was violently attacked by a man when she was going about her day. Sadly this attitude was common at Kinnaird.
I remember many teachers saying the same kind of things to girls and telling them that they should dress ‘appropriately’. This shows that even the educated lot thinks sexual harassment is the victim’s fault. We need to change this mindset in order to fight this menace of sexual harassment. Stop telling girls what to wear. Tell men not to sexually harass us and keep their hands to themselves!