According to a research conducted by the Indian Bar Association, 70 per cent women in India do not report sexual assaults at workplaces. The report also says that between 2014 and 2015, cases of sexual harassment within office premises more than doubled (from 57 to 119), according to the National Crime Records Bureau data. There has also been a 51 per cent rise in sexual harassment cases at other places related to work — from 469 in 2014 to 714 in 2015.
SheThePeople.Tv spoke to lawyer Mayank Mukherjee about the reasons for the same.
“I feel one of the major reasons that dissuades women from reporting sexual harassment cases at workplace is the stigma attached to it. There is a movement from being a victim to a survivor but that movement is still not complete. The girl is always considered at fault.”
Insensitivity of society
Mayank said, “These days, workplaces have their committees that take action if something of this sort happens but the society outside does not spare the girl. There are eyebrows raised fearing which women avoid reporting the crime.”
To save their careers
A lot of fields require men and women to work together. In such a scenario, if a woman is sexually assaulted, the organisation tends to get rid of the victim by transferring them to some other office. In some cases, they are ousted. Fearing a downfall in career, women often choose to remain tight-lipped about such incidents.
Ambiguity in cases
In a lot of cases, there is ambiguity about what exactly sexual harassment encompasses. For example, constant staring at someone is generally not considered to be an act of sexual harassment but can be very traumatizing for the individual going through it. Lack of evidence, in this case, can prevent women from confronting the accused and
reporting the crime.
Lack of awareness
The sad reality is that not many working women are well-versed with the laws that can safeguard them from such crimes. The need of the hour is to sensitise both men and women about their rights and duties at workplaces. Psychological counselling provided to the victim is another progressive step to deal with the issue. We cannot let our women workforce suffer in silence.