A professor who was allegedly forced to leave Kolkata's St. Xavier’s University over photos that the authorities described as inappropriate has opened up about the trauma resulting from the episode in an opinion piece for The Indian Express.
The academic detailed a horrifying meeting she had with university authorities where she said she was "slutshamed and harassed". She described it as a modern-day "witch trial".
The professor, who joined the university in August 2021, said she got a phone call in October, asking her to come meet the vice-chancellor. She was given no other details.
At the meeting, she was shown pictures from her private Instagram feed that the father of a student had caught him looking at.
The student's father, in his complaint to the university, had expressed shock at the “sexually explicit” photos of the professor.
"It is obscene, vulgar and improper for a 18 year old student to see his professor dressed in scanty clothes exhibiting her body on a public platform,” man had said.
The professor, in The Indian Express piece, described how she was morally policed by university officials over her photos.
"Not only was I morally policed and harassed for over an hour over images which I had privately shared with a select group of people, but I was also forced to tender my resignation," she wrote for the newspaper. "The fact that five women enthusiastically participated in this was particularly insulting and traumatising."
The woman said she was told if she did not resign on her own, a case would be filed against her for her “objectionable” Instagram pictures.
After the episode, the professor said she experienced night terrors and was unable to eat properly.
"The stress was so unbearable that it battered my immunity and I contracted Covid-19 for the second time," she wrote, adding she was devastated to see the impact of the episode on her parents, especially her unwell father.
The woman, who will move the Calcutta High Court against the university, said messages of support gave her the strength to keep fighting"I am fighting to reclaim my bodily and feminist agency and to ensure that what happened to me never happens to anyone else," she wrote.