How to ensure the safety of girl students
There has been a surge in the number of students who enrol themselves in distant colleges to secure the best of education. With more and more students staying in college hostels these days, ensuring their safety has become an important concern for the authorities.
Given their vulnerable position in society, the issue of safety of girls remains the most stressed. With crime against women being reported on college campuses, the pressure on college authorities has also increased. It has now become all the more controversial with some leaders suggesting several restrictions in the name of safety such as restriction of movement beyond and prior to a certain period of time, dress code, CCTV monitoring etc.
Are students safe in hostels and are restrictions the most democratic and prudent way of ensuring safety of girls? These are some perspectives which are being debated today.
The Hindu EducationPlus spoke to some students in Bangalore to find out what they have to say about restrictions on girls.
Nikhil Sharma, second year B.Com student, Jain College, Bangalore
According to me, there is a preference for campus hostels as they are considered safe due to rules and regulations framed by the college. However, what has emerged in recent days from the suggestions of various leaders is nothing but a set of blatant gender-biased restrictions, which is not the solution.
To restrict girls, monitor their movement, prescribe a dress code for them – all these are demonstrative of backward thinking. Living in a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore, it would be shameful for us to even consider restricting the freedom of girls. The focus should rather be on improving policing and introducing other methods to safeguard them.
Srinidhi G. Krishnan, B.A. (Journalism and Communication), School of Communication, Manipal
I stayed in the college hostel for a year and I found the hostel safe. We had a curfew time of 9.30 p.m. for both boys and girls, which I think was fair. However, if I am to reflect on the suggestions of putting special restrictions on girls, I would say that just a mere curfew is not the solution to our problem.
Hostels guarantee safety only in terms of the time we spend in the hostel. Students remain out for most of the day and return to their hostels at night. What if something happens to them during daytime? Instead of throwing a set of restrictions on us, it would be better if the State develops a mechanism whereby even if girls are out late, their safety is guaranteed.
Nilesh Bagri, second year, B.Tech Chemical Engineering student, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal
I think college hostels are safe for girls, our University hostels indeed are. There is generally some formal dress code that needs to be maintained for all the students inside classrooms and places like libraries; however they have the liberty to wear what they want in and around the campus.
There are, of course, some restrictions that are common to all, but they are there to ensure our safety, especially for the girls as they are more vulnerable.
And I think that this should be followed in every other institute as it is not the restrictions that we impose on women that matter, but it is the thinking of the people that plays a major role.
Udit Singhi, second year BBM student, Christ University, Bangalore
Imposing special restrictions on girls is unfair. Everybody has equal freedom in our country and such measures will be a compromise on this freedom. Our college has a dress code for both boys and girls.
To maintain the sanctity of an institution, if certain rules and regulations are imposed, like dress code, we should all respect it. But they should not be biased or unnecessary. If we restrict girls, we are giving the message that girls should be caged in order to protect them which is nowhere close to empowering them. Their true empowerment would mean safeguarding their freedom and giving them equal space to breathe.
C.V. Aradhana, second year B.A.- LL.B. student, National Law University, Delhi
I feel pretty safe in my college hostel. It has restrictions on our movement like, on weekdays we can stay out of campus till 6 p.m. only which is fair for Dwarka (Delhi) but not for Bangalore. But these restrictions are meant for both the genders.
I believe some degree of restriction is important as the college owes responsibility to our parents.
However, these restrictions should not be arbitrary and gender biased. Same is for dress code. Most colleges in Bangalore have dress codes for both boys and girls which is acceptable as it is indicative of a normative culture for students.
However, if such a dress code is only for girls, I think it is undemocratic.