By Sohel F Fidai :
Many people in our country do not understand the meaning of sexual harrassment or for that matter the meaning of the word “harrassment” or perhaps they just pretend not to.Harrassment means mentally torturing someone on the premise or pretext of asking sexual favours,trying to pressure a woman to do something against her will or out of her comfort zone by using underhanded tactics,by force,by manipulation or by threats.Outraging her modesty by Uncomfortable advances,sleazy comments,verbal abuse and uncomfortable physical touch where the woman is not willing is also in the perview of sexual harrassment.Sexual harrassment is qualified as a separate category in law apart from abuse,assault,rape and molestation and is also a punishable offence as serious as the other offenses.
This kind of information needs to be taught in schools,colleges,in companies,hiring departments of various industries as well as as part of a public service initiative so that people can be aware of their rights and responsibilities.Also the Police force,law and judiciary needs to be given a master class on harrassment laws as those guys are the primary investigative agencies and very often they mix harrassment with abuse,assault and rape and hence unable to correlate the evidence when its provided to them.Very often a harrassment complainant is not taken seriously in India although eve teasing and unwarranted misbehaviour towards women/feminity has been rampant across the country according to several psychological studies and reports.This needs to be taken note of too.
Also the use of terminology callously without understanding the meaning and ascribing more heinous offenses to it makes it plausible for it to be denied and thus dismissed.This is the sad and sorry state of awareness about harrassment laws in our country and hence clever creepy people continue to thrive despite rising protests as they always pretend indifference, ignorance or twist words to dismiss matters when confronted.So the key is to verbalize accurately with clarity the nature of the offence while confronting these people.Therefore a mass initiative on creating awareness on harrassment laws will curb the incidence of crimes against women and children in our country.They say when you throw light on darkness the darkness slowly dissolves.The police force as well as the judiciary needs to be schooled and sensitized on this.
I suggest the women politicians of our time take up this issue seriously with the powers that be and actively enforce some educative and corrective measures en masse.In layman’s terms teach the public what kind of behaviour tantamount to misbehaviour and harrassment since clearly most of these guys who indulge in this kind of behaviour have not been brought up well by their parents and need extra schooling on the concept of consent,personal space and civilized behaviour.Also there should be legal blanket ban on glorification of such behaviour in popular media.
If these measures are implemented then that would be an active step towards reforming the Midset of a nation that is reeling under the influence of a very negative kind of oppression,one that is surely affecting future generations in many ways-Tanushree Dutta