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Sexual harassment in college campuses and the so called “educated” youth of the country

Recently an incident at a renowned university in South Calcutta went viral where it was revealed that a group of men kept an online drive with the personal pictures of several women from various departments of the same college. The pictures had been well in circulation amongst the group of men and the development stayed as an open secret among the rest of the college. The incident received condemnation with victims coming out only after one of the survivors spoke about it openly online. An entire rabbit hole of offences came to light and several academically bright students were called out for sexual assault, abuse, harassment.

In recent days, educational institutions of liberal humanities in the city have bred several sexual abusers and harassers. The same students and campuses that boast of their erudition and intellectualism have turned out to be nurturing the crookedest and most perverse of sexual offenders. In academic institutions and places of higher education, a common culture prevails of hero-worshipping college seniors who come across as charismatic speakers, leaders, debaters. Most often than not seniors take undue advantage of this cocoon of charm they are able to build around themselves to exploit and misuse the trust of freshers. Such circumstances make it really easy for young students, right out of school and enthralled by the many myths surrounding college life to become easy pre to the ulterior motives of older students. Assaults and harassment on campus often go unrecognized or unreported due to several factors like peer pressure, self-control, lopsided power dynamics, fear of ulterior vengeful consequences from the side of the harasser etc.

The fact that so many students, men and women, majorly men, despite being extremely well-read or academically brilliant on paper, choose the path of degeneracy when it comes to putting the education at use shows us how sexual behaviour bears an enormous rift between itself and formal education. No amount of academic training teaches young boys( and sometimes girls) about the idea of sexual consent and the various layers to sexual intimacy. Our education systems give rise to defunct socially trained individuals who still treat the so-called weaker sex with a sense of entitlement and derogation. This makes gender sensitivity and sex education classes the need of the day right from the level of middle or even primary schooling. What is needed even more urgently is well-trained teachers who do not shy away from broaching important subjects and topics, no matter how uncomfortable sounding in terms of conventionality, to students.

Sex education and gender sensitivity classes right from primary school is the only way to educate a supposedly and seemingly educated youth on how to treat the subject of sex correctly and ethically. Most importantly it is needed to understand the foremost area lacking in the collective consciousness of this country: the understanding of consent, at every step and in all its layers, no matter how confusing or complicated.

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