Know about Sexual Harassment

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What can we learn today?

ARE YOU BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED?

  • HARASSER: The harasser can be anyone, such as a client, a co-worker, a parent or legal guardian, relative, a teacher or professor, a student, a friend, or a stranger.
  • VICTIM: The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Offering or implying an employment-related reward (such as a promotion, raise, or different work assignment) or an education-related reward (such as a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) or promising marriage in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct, is considered sexual harassment.
  • Engaging in unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations, solicitations or making unnecessary and unwanted physical contact, such as hugging, rubbing, touching, patting, pinching, or massages and flirtation is sexual harassment.
  • Using unwelcome sexually degrading language, sexual jokes, innuendos, or gestures
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes, graffiti and/or visuals.
  • Repeated face-to-face, telephone or email invitations after having refused. Stalking or cyberbullying are also considered sexual harassment.
  • Suggestive or obscene letters, notes, invitations or emails received at work or at home are considered sexual harassment
  • LEGAL DEFINITION: Learn what is termed as sexual harassment under Indian Penal Code here.

PRECAUTIONS AND WHAT TO DO:

  • IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT: Know that the responsibility to avoid sexual harassment is on the harasser. The way a person dresses is not an excuse for harassing them.
  • ACCUSE THE HARASSER: Hold the harasser accountable for his actions. Do NOT make excuses for him; do NOT pretend it didn’t really happen. Let people know what he did. Privacy protects harassers, but visibility undermines them.
  • BE BOLD, SPEAK OUT: Speak out with strong, self-respecting body language: eye contact, head up, shoulders back, a strong, serious stance. Don’t smile. Timid, submissive body language will undermine your message.
  • PEPPER SPRAY: Pepper sprays are available easily. Make sure to carry a pepper spray if you feel threatened, especially while walking at night in a dark alley. However, you need to spray at an arm’s distance and move backwards while spraying such that you don’t catch any of the spray. You should also try to spray left to right and top to bottom, so that the attacker gets sprayed even if he tries to move.
  • USING HIRED CARS: If you hire a cab, please ensure that the child lock is not on in the cab. This is a minor but important check that everyone should make when getting onto a car.
  • SEXUAL ASSAULT: BEWARE: The most grievous form of sexual harassment is sexual assault, which is a crime in India. Do not let harassment escalate to sexual assault. You must make the harasser stop from the very beginning. Learn what is termed as sexual assault under Indian Penal Code here.
  • BEWARE OF DATE-RAPE: An extremely dangerous drug in today’s world is ketamine, also known as a date rape drug. This drug is often used to drug a person before engaging the person in unconsented sexual activities. Such drugs are easily dissolvable in liquids and are usually mixed with a drink that the victim is taking. Beware of these situations from happening to you.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU/SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY HARASSED?

  • Talk to someone, a friend, a relative or a counsellor. Do not hesitate to take actions if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual harassment. If you have questions or concerns, or would like to make a formal report, go to the Contact page.
  • If you observe sexual harassment, be courageous enough to offer to be a witness. Put yourself in the victim’s place and remember that you would need encouragement and support if this ever happened to you.
  • Know the law against sexual harassment and sexual assault. Unfortunately most sexual violence laws in India applies only to women and children. However, we recognize that the harasser and the victim can be of any gender.
  • Be supportive of the victim. Remind the victim that he or she is not guilty of anything and should not be ashamed or embarrassed. If you are helping a victim who is a child, extreme care must be taken while talking to them and they should be told that you are there for them and will try your best to help them. In case of children, it is best to seek professional counselling to help the child recover.
  • Write your story. Support others who may be going through similar situation by sharing your story. Write to us. We respect the victim’s privacy. You can write to us anonymously. Even if you write your name, we will not disclose it to anyone other than our small team of blog-editors under any circumstances.