Recently Delhi Police has arrested 10 people, including six students of Delhi University, for allegedly barging into the premises of Gargi College during a cultural festival. It is surprising that after a massive protest led by students, the college reported the incident and an FIR was registered against unknown persons for “trespassing, assault of women and outraging their modesty”.
It is very bad that such things allegedly happen in high-profile places. Despite the prevalence of sexual harassment, very few persons who experienced this were able to report and therefore get a remedy. The media coverage of sexual harassment in the workplace has resonated in the minds and conversations of women throughout this county. Swami Vivekananda said “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.” We are living in a country which is witness to innumerable incidents of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a serious issue that has long been ignored and treated with complacency. These cases usually have a marked power imbalance between the victim and the accused. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is very real, and it happens every day. Sexual Harassment at workplace”, is a widespread issue and an unwanted social atrocity being committed against a woman.
There are numerous women who have faced sexual harassment at some point of time. It might have been at her office, on her way to work or during an official trip. Sexual harassment is that illness which has its effect on every corner of the world. Supreme Court’s historic 1997 judgement and the 2013 law against sexual harassment at the work place haven’t done enough to address deeper systemic problems. The Supreme Court of India in 1997 passed the landmark Vishaka judgement, which clearly defined the ambit of sexual harassment in the workplace. It includes that the acts like Physical contact and advances; a demand or request for sexual favours; sexually coloured remarks; showing pornography; and any other unwelcome physical verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
Although it is heartening to see women making stupendous progress in almost every sphere of activity, one cannot be oblivious to the fact that they continue to be victims of violence of different hues. Every human being has the right to live with dignity and respect. It is noticed that the prevalence of crimes against women in a certain place depends on a large extent to the social ambience of that place. Efforts to prevent and eliminate violence against women should have high priority by way of implementing various measures. The punishment for battering, molestation, sexual molestation and unlawful threat must be increased. Projects must be launched for a better cooperation between the police, the social services and other relevant parties. Government should come out with much more essence and urgency to check the indecent behaviour against women folks, and the need to chart out stern measures on the part of administrative authorities for curbing down such events.
(The latter part of the article will continue tomorrow)
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)