Just because our society refuses to acknowledge cases of sexual harassment of men does not mean it does not happen. Often a largely ignored issue, sexual assault of men is a reality which is brushed aside conveniently and considered a taboo. But, sadly it exists.
To highlight the same and in an attempt for a balanced gender-neutral take on sexual harassment in the country, the UGC has now made a provision for male students to file harassment complaints against men, women and transgenders, reported The Telegraph.
As per the UGC (Prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations notified in May 2016, sexual harassment is gender-neutral; male students are vulnerable to many forms of sexual harassment like their women and transgender counterparts.
These are basic facets of the news rules:
- The regulation will be executed strictly and an internal committee will be set up to review complaints.
- Students alleging sexual harassment will have to file their complaints within three months of the offence (except in extraordinary situations such as illness)
- All complaints will be reviewed and action will be taken within 30 days.
- As per the UGC provision, victim's friends, colleagues, relatives, co-students, or psychologists can file a complaint on his/her behalf if he/she is not able to do due to "physical or mental incapacity or death".
This landmark move comes after UGC panel was notified that there were several instances of men facing sexual harassment, even in educational institutions. In 2007, two students had filed a complaint against a teacher of Ramjas college.
And these are the implications:
- If the universities and colleges don't follow the regulations, they will face action that may include cuts in funds
- A student found guilty of sexual harassment can be rusticated, while an employee or a teacher found guilty will face action according to service rules.
- There is also a provision of penalty for false complaints.