Democratic Student Union (DSU) Statement in Solidarity with the women complainants of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, SRFTI, Kolkata in their fight against sexual harassment and collective vitiation of space.
In yet another instance of blatant gendered oppression– sexual harassment one section of the so called “progressive-liberals”, champions of “opinion-making” have shown their true patriarchal-feudal colour when after a long battle against sexual harassment against some of the professors of SRFTI, the women complainants came out victorious after a long drawn battle.
The internal complainants committee found the alleged professors guilty of sexual harassment and a video shows one of the harrassers openly slandering against the complainants in a “private-party”. As an immediate reaction some sections of the students who have been shielding these harrassers, building opinion against the complainants by slander campaign, assassinating their character started an active malign campaign against the complainants in social media. ‘
This particular group contributed considerably in vitiating the space of the women complainants from the very beginning when the complaints were lodged. They are continuing this malicious campaign even now. This shows the inherent feudal/patriarchal anxiety, reflective of a society where sexual harassment is an everyday reality, and it is “normalized”. The reality of this society is, most of the women even are not in a position to raise their voice against such instances of sexual violence. Women who carry forward a battle against harassment are attacked in different levels, in different stages.
In the very first stage women are harassed, then when they raise their voice they are intimidated, threatened, abused, to be followed by the last stage, when the harassers are found guilty the complainants are blamed and condemned.
The recent incidents in SRFTI once again exposes the deep patriarchal anxiety which finds solace in victim blaming and shows the “classical pattern” of gendered oppression. It completely violates minimum human dignity, women’s agency and their right to fight against gendered oppression.
From DSU, we would like to congratulate the complainants who courageously fought against sexual harassment even after being hounded for almost a year, and took this battle to its logical conclusion, where the alleged harassers have been found guilty.
We salute their spirit with which they fought against collective vicious campaign. We extend our solidarity to the complainants.
We condemn the witch hunt of the complainants in strongest possible words and demand immediate action against the guilty professors and their bandwagons shielding them. Let us join hands to smash feudal brahmanical patriarchy and all other oppressions which keep women and opressed gender/sexualities chained. Let us forge a radical unity to bring a society free from all oppression.