As the number of women at the workplace increases the higher the incidence of sexual harassment. Chances are that if you are a working woman you have witnessed this in some form or another, or seen it happening to someone else. In such cases, there are things you must be prepared to do, to help you out of such a situation.
Make your discomfort known:
Women are so used to dealing with unwanted male attention by ignoring it, that this does not come as a first response to us. But unfortunately, ignoring something like this or suffering in silence is taken as giving one’s assent and in most cases, the harasser will not stop. Speak up and say you are uncomfortable if he touches you or stands too close.
Confide in a colleague or Senior:
Women are usually embarrassed to confide in a colleague because it’s a shameful thing to reveal. But the flipside to this is that if no one knows about your situation then later when the issue comes to everyone’s notice, many people will put up their hands and say they never knew about any such thing.
If the harasser does not back down even by you voicing your discomfort in private, it would be good to bring some attention to it in public. This helps your case as the harasser is chastised in front of your common colleagues and this builds pressure on him to stay within limits.
Saving The Copies
This is more personal advice. If you are receiving messages or emails from this person that hint at a different meaning or have disturbing material in them, do remember to save them. Women usually are so disturbed by harassment that their knee jerk reaction is to delete everything offensive or disturbing. My advice is, keep them. To back your end up, just in case.
Know The POSH Act:
Under the Vishaka Guidelines, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“POSH Act“) was put into practice to provide a safe, secure and enabling environment, free from sexual harassment to every woman. The Supreme Court of India has framed a set of guidelines (“Vishaka Guidelines“) for dealing with instances of sexual harassment at the workplace, which has now been codified in the POSH Act.
Don’t back down
In the worst-case scenario, if you need to register a formal complaint, please do. Your dignity is more important than a job that takes it away from you. And by not standing up to the injustice of this sort, you are paving the way for many more such cases in your office. Even if it doesn’t go your way and nothing is done to the harasser I would say, better that than bearing the harassment any day. Obviously, the choice is yours!