Chennai Lounge

Sexual harassment incident in a Chennai School

In India, everyone likes to think the rich culture and close-knit families gives people the psychological cover to handle modern day stresses. This is believed to shield Indian (and Asians) societies from growing menaces of Gun shooting in schools, Sexual Harassment of kids, etc. which have now become repeated occurrences in the western world. Critics have said that, in this connected world no society can completely protect itself from these menaces – and in India though Sexual harassment of kids happen they go unreported due to community fears and pressures.

Recently (about a week or so back) I learned the news of a shocking incident that happened in a Chennai School, which was covered up and went unreported in any main stream media. The school is one of the popular private English schools in the city and I came to know about it through few of the parents who have their kids studying in the school and who were called for a meeting on this. The incident was about a school support staff (watchman or someone) had taken few girls (studying 4th or 5th standard) into a room, locked it and tried to misbehave with them sexually. Reportedly he didn’t succeed much as the kids shouted and they were rescued subsequently. What was shocking was the attempt the school made to cover the incident up, they didn’t handover the culprit to police and the school board’s reluctance to even dismiss the culprit (he was eventually fired after pressure from parents).

As a parent this is a shocking news. Parents have been recommended by experts to teach school going girl children and make them aware to the extend possible (of course you can’t make a 8 year old aware of sexual advances) of not going when strangers / adult males call them unwarranted.

Update 9/July/2007: After I posted this story yesterday I was pointed to the Deccan Chronicle (Chennai Edition) 8/July/2007 issue which has carried this same news.

8 Comments

  • Sexual harassment at work place, schools, collages, parties, travel, roads etc. is a very common news which we hear the most. Most of the people are not aware about sexual harassment and its very important to make them aware, this will help us to decrease occurring sexual harassment. By the help of PriaCash.org website we can came to know a lots of things base on sexual harassment. It’s my personal experience that this website help girls a lot and we can share our views and quarries with others in its forum.

  • Please read about a latest incident at shaheedbilal.blogspot.com. I nephew was murdered at Velammal School, Chennai by the school authorities. Matter is still at investigation stage. There has been several deaths in this school in the last few years.

  • Appreciate your concerns Harish. I didn’t name the school as the parents (who were called for the meeting and not the affected parents) requested me not to. They felt it will bring in Law enforcement agencies into focus and the school may be closed – which will affect their kids education.

    In fact, they didn’t even want me to post this. The idea of my post was to make people aware of this and not to be a RobinHood :-).

  • Yes. May be I worded the comments earlier quite strongly, but in the light of ethics displayed by the school the post or the thoughts over the post have to be strong i believe.

    In my strong opinion, this is not about sensitising the issue or getting the child to light.. but clearly to not be part of the cover-up. Don’t you think, the school itself would be justifying the cover-up just the way we are… then why do we have to blame the school for the cover-up.. we are too party to it.

  • Harish,

    Child sexual abuse is a very sensitive and serious case and it is NEVER recommended to reveal identities of persons or organisations involved in a manner which can lead to easy identification of the victims and further harassment. Though, the author could have presented the post in more stronger terms, I still appreciate the confidentiality mentioned.

  • I also request you, if you could, to release some parent or contacts number who can vouch for the incident happening, so this can be brought out through some NGO. Thank you.

  • Everyone is probably just don’t want to take it their call, unless it is their kid.. for example it is disappointing even this blog post doesn’t want to make a gut attempt to disclose the school’s name or the parent’s through whom it was heard. if anything was real, and if we want somebody around to bring the cover-up and the culprit(s) to justice it is the indian attitude of covering up out of fear and lack of proof/evidence that has to go off.

    If at all, there’s a thought like "it could be a vague rumour, i dont want to get in the firing line…" you could just tell it as to from whom you heard it and what you hear the schools name and place was .. and put a disclaimer that information could be grossly invalid. otherwise, how are we trying to voice this to anybody at all?…who takes the call? .. isn’t what happened(if it had really happened, a grave grave error to be covered up at all..whoever it is)..cmon they are children, who will voice for them.