A Class 12 student in Coimbatore died by suicide on Thursday, November 11. She was found by her father and a close friend. Her friend and parents alleged that she was under severe mental distress from alleged sexual assault and repeated harassment by a school teacher named Mithun Chakravarthy at the Chinmaya Vidyalaya school.
The incidents of assault and harassment are reportedly said to have gone on for six months. According to her mother, the student had asked her parents to change her school repeatedly but did not reveal the reason why. In September, this year, they had shifted her to a different school in the city, the mother added.
“She was very distressed. She became scared of men in general. She was unable to forget the incident. She kept saying she felt disgusted,” said her friend. He alleged that the school had promised the student that they would dismiss the teacher, but did not, initially.
Psychology and behaviours of teachers who sexually harass students:
A teacher who harasses a student may be doing so because he or she is experiencing stress from various personal problems or life traumas, such as marital trouble or divorce, a professional crisis, financial difficulties, medical problems, or the death of a spouse or child. Even though the behaviour is unacceptable, it can be a symptom of the effects of such stresses.
Preventing Sexual Harassment at School:
Sexual harassment has been taking place in schools for years, but only recently has it begun to get the attention it deserves. The school systems have a responsibility to ensure that each student can attend school in a safe environment has been made clear by recent court decisions. Educate students about sexual harassment.
Students must be taught the difference between friendly teasing and bullying, between flirting and harassment. Behaviour expectations must be clearly defined and explained; fair and consistent consequences need to be outlined and reinforced. Parents will need to be educated about sexual harassment and its harmful effects to help them identify harassment and respond appropriately.
If the harassment continues, students need to seek help from teachers, counsellors, and administrators. Students are often embarrassed to report sexual harassment because of its degrading nature. They need to know that the harassment is not their fault, nor is it a reflection on them. They need to keep asking for help until the harassment stops.
Suicide is not a solution to any problem. Be bold to face any situation. To overcome suicidal thoughts, contact Tamil Nadu Health Department’s helpline 104, Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050, or N Damodaran Centenary Lifeline Number for Suicide Prevention 1800-121-203040 or ‘Vidiyal’ suicide prevention helpline run by Coimbatore police 0422-2300999.
Sexual harassment is not something young people need to learn to tolerate. Rather, it must be confronted and stopped so that schools can be safe and positive places for children to learn.
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