Hearing impaired students protest for Ayanavaram minor

By Naomi N Published on Jul 26, 2018 01:40 PM IST

Chennai: Around 300 young men and women studying in St Louis College for the Deaf assembled with placards carrying messages to stop child sexual abuse and held a protest at Elliots Beach on Wednesday.

But this was not a usual protest, while the girls were hand signing their anger and shock, the young men were shouting with whatever sounds that came from within.

It was an emotional moment for these students who took part in a protest for the first time for one of their own - the Ayanavaram girl child who was subjected to rape for over six months by 17 men.

News Today spoke to Professor B Ambrose to understand why the students stepped forward in solidarity.

"They got to know about the incident on social media. The next day, in college, some of them came and asked about the full details of the case. They were shocked by the brutality and felt they needed to do something. We waited for so long to get permission from the city police to organise this in a proper way."

The protesting students wanted just one thing - harsh punishment for the 17 persons arrested for raping the minor.

Holding up the banners and chart papers, they demanded justice.

Prof Ambrose, who organised the protest for the students, said, "The fact that the girl did not disclose about it to anybody is shocking. The parents are to be blamed for not communicating with her. At our college, we educate students to speak out on any such violence and we have a cell where they can come and disclose it and a committee to enquire about such incidents. In the past, students have come forward to report such incidents."

Even though the students couldn't scream out their anger, the fact that all of them gathered for such a cause speaks volumes about their feelings about the issue.

It is not that all those who are hearing impaired cannot speak, it calls for early identification. "They can talk provided at an early stage they are given speech therapy and their full sound is brought out."

For the hearing impaired, they have it the most difficult in life. "It is difficult to express their feelings. Those who can't see, express happiness or any discomfort. The hearing impaired do have a normal life and an IQ. The students have an academic curriculum like other college students. The teachers teach through lip movement and sign language. They land good jobs as well."

 St Louis College for the Deaf has been functioning in Adyar for the past 25 years. This is India's first college and Asia's second. They began in 1993 with seven students and now have more than 300 students.