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Leave of ninety days now for women who have filed complaints of sexual harassment in government offices. A big relief for female victims.
Who said working women enjoy greater dignity than their peers? There are predators working at every level who slog day and night in order to jeopardize a woman’s sense of security and independence!
Media is replete with harrowing tales of women who get molested in work places. Sexual harassment in work places is an age old phenomenon.
Showing pornography, demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks are all forms of sexual harassment that women go through. The government has, however, taken a concrete step by granting a paid leave of three months during the pendency of enquiry.
This will ensure that the victim doesn’t get harassed or threatened by the accused to take back the case or humiliate them further which makes their lives more difficult.
It will also come as a relief to the victims who undergo a lot of trauma while working in the office in the presence of the accused. Moreover, three months of paid leave will also give victims the required time to work on any psychological scars that they may have developed during the difficult phase.
Support from family and friends is crucial to help the victim get back to normal life and regain the confidence lost. Apart from the fact that they will get a lot of time to recuperate emotionally, this apposite measure taken by the government will help ensure that women speak about this issue openly without worrying too much about the financial loss they will have to incur.
While the government has done a really appreciable job, the onus of helping the victim regain her confidence and return to work lies on the colleagues. Looking down upon the victim, gossiping about her or naming the accused in front of the victim can add to her woes. She shouldn’t be made to feel guilty of voicing her opinion against an issue that was affecting her a lot. After all, three months of paid leave doesn’t help if she is sniggered at when she returns to work.
Redressal mechanisms should be initiated in all the workplaces which employ people of both the genders as per the guidelines. They can play a monumental role in making women aware of the various rights they have at workplaces and how to get due justice if they are harassed.
A lot needs to be done in the area of women safety at workplaces so that more and more women join the workforce and make a living without fear.
Image Source: Pixabay
This is a step in the right direction and the very least a company should be forced to do to ensure no further harassment of the victim. I hope that companies will begin to extract this “cost” from the offender and that could be the first level of deterrent/penalty. However I hope this policy does not result in companies refusing or stalling the registration of complaints to save themselves the legal and financial burden that this policy is likely to impose upon them. In India, sexual harassment cases (both at work and elsewhere) are grossly under reported, because of various pressures familial, patriarchal and societal. This doubly leaves the woman to bear the burden of the offender’s actions. This has to change. Much more needs to be done at the policy level to prevent sexual harassment especially at the work place. Far more widespread sensitisation of appropriate work place etiquette and code of conduct for both men and women should be undertaken and a rigorous mechanism to report and check violations more regularly should be put in place. Interviews and appraisals must be oriented to include understanding and assessment of thought and action processes of candidates and employees, to signal sexually inappropriate vibes and behaviour oriented towards harassment. There is a great need for much more effort to make work places truly equal -safe, secure and fair to all who contribute their might to building of an organisation.
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