Have We, as a Society, Triumphed over the Evil of Sexual Harassment? Some Thoughts…..
There’s no denying that the world has made immense progress in the 21st century. In just the last 18 years, we have seen society achieve new heights in technology, medicine, education, literature, human rights and many other fields. One could say that society has made definite progress in terms of thinking and culture as well. We are moving towards a more progressive society – certain things that were taboo just two decades ago, like homosexuality, are now understood and accepted in many countries. Women’s rights movements have come to the forefront too. We certainly do have a long way to go when it comes to gender equality and women’s rights, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t made some fantastic progress so far.
But have we triumphed over possibly the biggest danger that women all over the globe face – sexual harassment? The answer is a resounding NO! Today, even as women run some of the biggest companies, and countries, in the world; as they prove their mettle in the professional and creative field; women STILL face sexual harassment. Be it the female professional who has to deal with workplace harassment by male colleagues on a daily basis, or the lone female student in her college class who gets incessantly teased by her fellow male classmates, or the young schoolgirl in a rural area who never completed her education because she gets eve-teased in school – nobody is immune to it. Every single woman faces it.
If I were to ask you, have we triumphed over the evil of sexual harassment, what would you say? Well, we asked Shruti Saxena the same question, and here’s what she had to say –
‘To express my views over whether we have triumphed over the evil of sexual harassment and if not, then what are the ways to achieve it, my answer would certainly be in negative as to the first one and to the second question, I would say that the problem is not only with the attitude of the men of the society, but with that of the women as well.
To use a metaphor, when a new weapon is handed over to an amateur, there are broadly two possibilities:
Either he will not use it at all, suspecting that it may cause damage to him only, or
He may use it successfully or otherwise.
In the second case, the success chance, though minimal, is present. The point is that the use of such weapons available for defence against this evil of sexual harassment like various helpline numbers, physical defence techniques and lubrication in the redressal mechanism require proper and massive propaganda. Not denying the fact that propaganda against this evil is widespread, what is not yet realized is effective implementation of the redressal mechanism. It should be remembered that it is not always the moral teaching that can get us away with the malpractice.
Yet another aspect of the issue is that power does corrupt. That is, if a rigid grievance redressal system is set up, there are chances of misuse. Hence, there it is imperative to fill up the loopholes of the related law that are inevitable and avoiding the same in prospective laws.’
Just like Shruti elaborated above, we at Safecity, too believe that sexual harassment can be combated by effective redressal mechanisms. Through our app, we provide a platform for women to report their stories and experiences of harassment.
This article was first published on Safecity as a part of the writer's movement. Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Economics, Dhwani Nanavati volunteers in the communications department at Safecity. She believes that the best way to advance women’s rights is by raising awareness, and Safecity is the perfect platform for the same. Apart from academics, she enjoys reading, writing, dancing and debating.