Sending Inappropriate Text Messages To Women Is Harassment
Yes, there is no physical encounter here, nor is there any inappropriate touching, but despite the interaction being virtual, we must not trivialise its effects on a survivor. Inappropriate text messages cause mental and emotional trauma and hence is sexual harassment. Yet, for some people sending lewd messages isn’t harassment. How can an act as harmless as sending texts be called harassment, they ask? Nobody got touched or injured, so on what grounds are we calling one a perpetrator?
One such person is Punjab’s All India Congress Committee in-charge, Asha Kumari, who said, “Sending a message does not become a case of #MeToo. Sexual harassment is different from messaging.” According to a report on NDTV, Kumari made this statement in defence of Punjab’s state Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. The minister is being asked to resign for allegedly sending an “inappropriate” SMS text to a woman official a few weeks ago.
Kumari’s statement reflects how most people, including women, still, do not comprehend what all comes under the ambit of sexual harassment. How it is more about abuse of power, standing or gendered entitlement than the physical act of touching a person inappropriately.
Any act of abusing power to gain sexual favours or force sexual will is harassment
Sending women lewd texts is not as naïve an act as Kumari wants us to believe. Here a man with power felt entitled to send a female officer an inappropriate message. It shows ‘abuse of power’ and disregard to the ‘woman’s consent.’ These are the keywords everyone must keep in mind, to understand what sexual harassment means. Did the woman approve of this man sending her lewd texts? Did this minister seek her permission beforehand? If one party resorts to sending inappropriate texts to another, without their approval, then it counts as harassment, and this stands for both genders.
Left Handers Day: Myths And Facts About Right Wired People
Vilassini Sundar On Her Journey From Swimming Champ To Surfing Pro
Happy Left Hander’s Day : Left Fights For Its Right
Bhumika Is An Intriguing Interpretation Of Ramayana: An Excerpt
What Women Of The Village Bhap Taught A City Girl About Dreams
Grandmas And Granddaughters Share What Freedom Means To Them
Eid-Ul-Adha: Kashmiri Women On Eid Away From Home
Girls Celebrate Raksha Bandhan By Defying Conventional Norms
How 11 Year-Old Mira Had To Leave Behind Her Life In Karachi
US Parents Are Buying Bullet Proof Backpacks For Kids
How Enid Blyton’s Books Take You To Much Simpler Times
Why I Write: I Feel Liberated After Pouring My Heart Out On Paper
- All India Congress Committee in-charge, Punjab, Asha Kumari has said that sending a message does not become a case of #MeToo.
- Sending any women lewd texts is not as naïve an act as Kumari wants us to believe. Here a man with power felt entitled to send a female officer an inappropriate message.
- Making a woman uncomfortable at her workplace by sending sexually suggestive messages, which she must endure because of the predator’s powerful position, is sexual harassment.
Harassment is often perceived to be a physical act. The idea that it is the use of physical force to subdue women, has ended up defining a vast and diverse category of offences.
Sexual harassment is also about psychological domination. Making a woman uncomfortable at her workplace by sending across sexually suggestive messages, which she must endure because of the predator’s powerful position, is also sexual harassment. These cues can be verbal, virtual, direct or even indirect. But if they are sexual in nature, then the act is indeed sexual harassment.
This defence that sending lewd messages cannot be bunched under #MeToo once again removes the onus of good conduct from the man’s shoulder. The message we are sending with #MeToo is loud and clear. No form of sexual harassment is acceptable. No man can now hide behind petty excuses like this and carry on abusing his power. This isn’t about categorising which offences can come under #MeToo and which can’t. This is about drawing a clear and bold line between acceptable and unacceptable conduct and to stop questioning our victim-hood and shielding men.
Picture Credit: The Hindu
Also Read : Where Do North-Eastern Women Stand In #MeToo?
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.
AWARD SECTION 2017
Get our best delivered to your inbox
LAST YEAR, THIS TIME
We Want Sports Medals, But Do We Have Facilities, Infra?August 13, 2018
Priyanka Chopra’s Reaction To A Fan Calling Her A Hypocrite Goes Viral (335)August 12, 2019
Life Is Not All Black And White, Sometimes It’s A Rainbow (72)August 12, 2019
Women With No Formal Education Have Lower Fertility Rates: Study (50)August 12, 2019
Aishwarya Pissay: Meet India’s First World Motorsport Champion (43)August 13, 2019
Alleged Rape Case Against Alok Nath May Be Closed (39)August 12, 2019