April 16, 2024

The principal of the college said men don’t have access to the women’s hostel.


A 17-year-old student in Visakhapatnam has died by suicide after jumping off her college building. In a long text exchange with her family minutes before she took the plunge, the student said she was sexually harassed at the college and could not complain to the institution’s authorities or the police because her harassers had taken photos of her and had threatened to post them on social media. 

In the heart-rending messages, the girl told her family that some of her fellow students in the college had also been sexually assaulted, and then addressed her elder sister, writing, “Sorry didi, I have to go.”

The teenager was a student of a polytechnic college in Visakhapatnam – name withheld to protect her identity – and her family, which lives in neighbouring Anakapalle district of Andhra Pradesh, had got a call from the institute’s authorities around 10 pm on Thursday that she had gone missing. When she did not answer her phone for some time, the family informed the police. 

Around 12.50 am on Friday, the girl finally responded to frantic messages from her family and asked them not to be tense.

“Don’t get tense, listen to me, I can’t tell you why I am leaving and, even if I do, you won’t understand. Please forget about me. I am really sorry. Mom and dad, I am grateful that you gave birth to me and brought me up. My chapter is coming to an end,” she wrote in Telugu. 

Congratulating her elder sister, who is expecting a baby, the girl also had a message for her younger sister, “Focus on your future and study whatever you like. Don’t get distracted, don’t be influenced by others, unlike me. Always be happy, and have a good life.”

Then, addressing her father specifically, the teenager wrote that she was taking the step because she was sexually harassed in college. “You may ask why I am not complaining to the faculty, but that won’t help. They (her harassers) have taken my photos and are threatening me. There are other girls as well. We aren’t being able to tell anyone and we are not being able to avoid college either. We are caught in between. If I file a police complaint or approach the authorities, they will release my photos on social media.”

“The reason I am taking this decision is that if I go away now, you will feel bad for a few years and you will forget later. But, if I am around, you will look at me and feel bad all the time,” she told her father before leaving a final message for her elder sister: “Sorry didi, I made you all tense, but I have to go”.

The family responded immediately, telling her the police were on the way and pleading with her not to make any rash decisions, but got no response. The teenager’s body was found some time later.

The girl’s father said a police complaint has been filed. “I need to know why my daughter died. I brought her up with great love and care. She got good marks in her Class 10 exams and we got her admitted to this college believing that she would get a good education here.”

‘No Men Have Access’

The college’s principal said men cannot access the women’s hostel. “We keep observing all students. Men cannot go to the girls’ hostel. There are women wardens, so there is no chance of sexual harassment,” he claimed.

A police official said faculty members and other students are being questioned and all angles are being investigated. 

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