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In a recent case, the ‘Sports Authority of India’ took quick action by responding to complaints against sexual harassment by female athletes, sending a clear message that sexual harassment exists and we need to fight it.
Women today are not just putting a dent in the glass ceiling but shattering it to pieces by plunging into every field, and are coming out triumphant. They have broken the stereotypes by entering into professions that were once considered to be ‘male-centric’ and were deemed ‘not appropriate’ for them.
It is universally thought that women are the weaker sex and hence, they cannot play rough. But, women are not only coming out to play different sports but also scaling new heights. Who can forget that in the 2016 Summer Olympics, two of our sportswomen, PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, saved us from the shame of coming empty handed. They were the only ones to win a medal each.
In a country where there is a perpetual dearth of requisite sports facilities, it is indeed remarkable that our sportswomen are becoming a force to reckon with. But, it is appalling to know that all is not good.
Time and again there have been reports of harassment on women players. Some years ago, bronze medalist Karnam Malleshwari had reported that women athletes in India fall victim to sexual harassment by coaches and even Sports authority officials.
In a recent case, The Sports Authority Of India received a number of complaints of sexual harassment from three of its regional centres. Apparently, 15 junior athletes sent in a written complaint accusing the coach for asking sexual favours. They were even threatened that if they do not concede he would mar their career.
The good news is that, ‘The Sports Authority of India’ took quick action and sacked a coach while initiating an internal probe. This is not the first case where women athletes have reported against molestation and abuse by the coach or other officials. Many such perverts are still unscathed.
There are around 7,000 women trainees across various centres of SAI (Sports Authority of India). Women who choose sports as a career have to break the patriarchal set-up that is prevalent in India and then join the league of women, who aspire to be top notch athletes and bring laurels to the country. But, this is only possible, if we take strict actions against perpetrators of sexual harassment.
The prompt action that the SAI took in this case is praise worthy and it would definitely go a long way in setting up a precedent. It will not only boost the morale of the female athletes who would not think twice before reporting an assault but also send in a loud message to the entire sports arena, that you cannot get away with such heinous acts.
Jwala Gutta, one of India’s leading Badminton players too came out and supported this step.
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