Sexual harassment is an integral issue that has infected every institution or industry, big or small. However, it is still one of the least reported incidents till date. Though, campaigns such as #MeToo have shaped up as an eye-opener for people working. But, sexual harassment at the workplace still stays behind closed doors.
The existing patriarchal setup has resulted in unequal powers in relations, and women who try to get equal rights and are daring enough to raise questions are usually snuffed and shown their place.
Based on a survey conducted by the National Bar Association, approximately 6,074 participants confessed to being sexually harassed at their workplace that is almost 38 per cent of responses including males and females. Knowing a few facts about sexual harassment to help women fight it better.
The act covers everyone
It does not matter if you are a trainee or a permanent employee, all are covered under the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013 (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal). Any organisation with minimum ten employees has to form an Internal Complaints Committee.
Signs of sexual harassment
Usually, sexual harassment goes unnoticed since women don’t understand the signs of it. Some of the key instances to gauge the intentions of men around are physical contact, a demand or request for sexual favours, showing pornography, any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
How to protect yourselves
When a woman realises that she is being sexually harassed, the first step for her should be to file a complaint with the Internal Complaints Committee within three months. In the absence of an internal committee, the complaint can be filed with a local committee.
Ask for a leave or change of branch or office
Under ICC or local committee, the victim can apply for change of branch, office or leave under Section 12 of the Act, which allows certain provisions. She is also entitled to a three-month leave under this act. She can also request for the other persons’ transfer in case she wants to stay in the same place.