Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sexual Harassment at Workplace: Have legislative measures helped?

So much is being said in the name of 'gender equality' and 'gender justice', but women continue to remain victims of exploitation. Recently, one incident in my own office came to my notice, and that led to this write-up. One subordinate lady staff was being sexually harassed my her male colleague for last six months, before she finally mustered enough courage to approach me to tell her ordeal and file a formal written complaint. She was too frightened to even tell her parents. And the guy, married and father of two children, quite unabashedly, denies everything and questions the moral character of the lady in question. Isn't it the fault of our patriarchal social system that women are always expected to follow the ideals of chaste Sati and Savitri, whereas there is no such obligation on men? Of course, we have Vishaka guidelines of Supreme Court and The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Still the sad reality is that women continue to suffer. This one example shows how even well-intentioned legislative measures fail in the absence of awareness and the sick mentality of men.

In this instance, I being a woman myself, realised the pain and trauma that the girl went through and have applied to my higher authority for a transfer of the guy. Lets see how seriously my department takes the complaint of sexual harassment.