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It took more than two years in filing sexual harassment charges against the environmentalist RK Pachauri. With this delay, when are women in Indian workplaces ever going to be safe?
‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ is a popular proverb which touches a chord with anyone who had been wronged and not gotten the support they needed from our law at the right time. This definitely seems to be true for the infamous sexual harassment case against the well-known scientist, RK Pachauri.
A female colleague had complained against him in 2015 of sexual assault. But, it has taken more than two years for the case to see the light of the day in the court.
The #MeToo movement has shown how sexual harassment is a scarily common phenomenon across the globe. It is also an occurrence that women in various industries of the corporate world are subjected to it too.
It has taken generations for women to fight for their rights and start increasing their number in the workforce. After that, every step, every promotion, every pay hike has been a battle for most of them. And, while they are facing these skirmishes, some of them also have to deal with harassment at work place.
Men in higher positions commit this crime with impunity, as they are sure that their power and position will act as a safety barrier for them. They feel secure that even if any of their victims dares to raise her voice, she will not be heard or believed. There have been cases where women have left their work and compromised on their career in order to escape unwanted attention.
It is only after the sensational Tarun Tejpal Sexual Harassment case that companies realized the enormity of the situation and introduced sexual harassment cells in almost all the corporates. However, their effectiveness can be questioned. It is sad, that on one hand our women are sending satellites to the moon, but are vulnerable on their own planet.
Crimes of a sexual nature must be taken seriously. Each crime and the way it’s handled sets a precedent for the future. Hence, delay in such cases bolsters the confidence of potential criminals and another woman’s life is endangered or her autonomy disregarded.
It took Nirbhaya nearly six years to get justice and her case was being handled by a fast track court. Similarly, in both Unnao and Kathua rape cases, the perpetrators are yet to be convicted. There are stringent laws present that will ensure that any crime of this nature is dealt with severely. But, they need to be implemented. If need be, separate courts should be set up to handle such sensitive cases.
Only if the survivors of such crimes get justice and in time, can we hope that there will be no more victims.
Image Source – Flicker, Rajendra Pachauri, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson,PopTech 2011, Camden Maine USA
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