Legal Round Table: Creating Awareness on Sexual Harassment
Globally, sexual harassment is a prevalent issue. It occurs behind the closed doors and in public domains in equal proportion. Even if there are laws in place redressing still seems far-fetched. There is a lack of general awareness around the rights and how to file complaints among the youth. Moreover, concerns like victim-blaming by sections of the society act as deterrents in tackling it.
Today, colleges and companies have their complaints and internal committees in place. Yet sexual harassment remains a huge concern. The recent cases of sexual harassment from companies like TVF and Uber are a case in point. Have you wondered what makes the offender so careless towards the law?
SheThePeople.TV in collaboration with Safecity organised a round-table panel at Shivaji College in New Delhi. It focused on creating legal awareness on sexual harassment at public spaces.
The Idea behind the Round table
The idea behind the round table, at a college campus, was to circulate information and gender sensitize the young minds. Furthermore, the initiative aimed to equip them with the knowledge on their rights and enable them to take informed decisions.
Talking about the legal rights available to women in India, SC lawyer Manu Yadav discussed how women can file a complaint with the police. He also talked about what steps to take in case the police are not registering their complaint. in such a case one can move to any magistrate in their city who will take up the complaint. “The magistrate can also file a petition against the concerned police officer who refused to lodge FIR,” said Yadav.
The magistrate can also file a petition against the concerned police officer who refused to lodge FIR.
WHAT DO EDUCATION INSTITUTES NEED TO IMPLEMENT?
Expert in International Human Rights Law, Ritu Priya, discussed initiatives with which sexual awareness can be generated from a very young age. She said,
“POCSO is very important in school. None of the teachers are aware of offences against children. It is very important for teachers and the school authorities to know what this law is about and how it can be used.”
“Violence prevention education is very important. We have to review the curriculum in schools. Gender stereotypes are inherent in the textbook which is a huge setback when it comes to gender sensitization.”
“Social media mirrors the reality of sexual harassment in the real world and it definitely needs to be reported.”
SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE DIGITAL SPACE
Talking about cyber bullying and violence, Rachel Bali of Krantikali said that the online space is a mirror for the physical space. “It mirrors the reality of stalking, teasing and bullying and it definitely needs to be reported.”
We agree that it will take generations of mentoring, learning and awareness initiatives to wipe out the evil of sexual harassment. But meanwhile, we should not lose hope and continue our fight.
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