- Controversy over counseling session on sexual harassment in JNU
- Teacher and students objected to some sentences
- The language of the invitation changed on the protest of the Women’s Commission
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has revised the language of its Public Invitation for Counseling on Sexual Harassment.
The sentence has been removed from the invitation that ‘Girls should know how to draw a line between them and their male friends.’ Students and teachers objected to this sentence. It said that boys usually cross the line between friendship and sexual harassment. In such a situation, girls should know how to draw a big streak with their male friends to prevent such incidents.
The University’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) had uploaded the invitation on JNU’s website saying that it would conduct a counseling session on sexual harassment on January 17. The committee also said that such sessions would be conducted on a monthly basis.
The relevant sentence under the subheading ‘Why this counseling session is needed’ has been changed. The revised sentence is ‘Boys shall be counseled to clearly distinguish between friendship and behavior that may constitute sexual harassment’. Girls will be counseled on how to avoid sexual harassment.
Women’s commission had raised objection
The move comes a day after National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma demanded withdrawal of the university’s “anti-women” invitations. Under the subheading ‘Why counseling sessions are needed’, the invitation said it would explain to students what comes under the ambit of sexual harassment.
It also stated that the students are counseled during the ‘orientation programme’ and at the beginning of each academic year and they need to enhance their understanding of the same from time to time.
The earlier invitation read, ‘There are many such cases in the ICC where there is sexual harassment between close friends. Boys usually cross the line between friendship (sometimes unintentionally, sometimes intentionally) derision and sexual harassment. Girls need to know how to draw a strong line (between them and their male friends) to avoid any such harassment.’