Your workspace needs to be very professional and should give you the respect that you deserve as a human. Any sort of discrimination on the basis of gender is unacceptable as it strikes at the very heart of equality which is a fundamental right guaranteed by the state. Sexual harassment has too many faces. Sometimes, it is just difficult to differentiate or draw a line where you can’t take it anymore. You might feel like it is very obvious when a person is being harassed but those of you who feel so, it must be clarified here that sexual harassment can many in different forms, and much too often in very subtle ways. Your boss or co-worker may just comment on something very casually or pass a lame joke about you in the office. They might just do things that make you very uncomfortable.
Sexual harassment doesn’t necessarily have to do anything with lewd touches or necessarily any kind of sexual activity. Neither does it always have to be about sexual comments all the time. It can also mean that you don’t really feel safe around someone for someone reason that not everyone needs to get the answer to. Here are a few subtle signs that you need to be aware of that are branded as sexual harassment:
Sexist jokes happen all throughout the day
Do you have to listen to taunts about the structure of your body? Are you being told that you need to do things differently to look better in a very sly manner? Do you feel like whatever criticism comes your way is solely based on your gender? These are signs of sexual harassment. Any sort of joke that screams of misogyny can be deemed as sexual harassment. Make sure you have this notified to someone you trust so that the worst can be prevented.
You are being blackmailed
Are you being asked to compromise with yourself just so that you could have a favour done to you? Do they explicitly mention sex to help you out with something that clearly doesn’t have anything to do with your merit? Have you ever been asked to sleep with your boss just so that you could get a pay hike? If this is the case, it is sexual harassment. Report this to a senior as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary complications where you are blamed with false charges.
Name calling is common
No matter how your performance is, if you get called by names that have sexual connotations, it is sexual harassment. If your co-workers badmouth you calling you a slut or a whore, you are being disrespected. This not just has to do with women but men too get sexually harassed. Anyone denoting you with a derogatory term at your workplace is harassing you and this needs to be condemned instead of tolerating it as a mute spectator.
They make headways into your personal life
Newbies at workplace generally make friends in haste. This means that they get in the company of wrong people who manipulate them and get all the personal information before they can use it against them. If your co-worker is trying to get too personal in the conversations and wanting to add you on the social platforms and calling you at odd hours when you have clarified your dislike for the behaviour, then you are being sexually harassed.
They are forcibly asking you out
There should always be some decency involved when a person asks you out. If you have already been very clear that you don’t really like this person but he/she is repeatedly bothering you to go out with them, then it is a sign of sexual harassment. In order to stay safe, make sure you have all the messages saved and calls recorded in the event of the matter escalating to the seniors.
What does the Indian Law say about sexual harassment at workplace?
The Government of India (GoI) has enacted the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (the SH Act), 2013. It defines “sexual harassment at the workplace” in a comprehensive manner, to cover “circumstances of implied or explicit promise or threat to a woman’s employment prospects or creation of hostile work environment or humiliating treatment, which can affect her health or safety.”
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has recently launched the SHe-Box portal. This Sexual Harassment electronic Box (SHe-Box) is an effort of the GoI to provide a single window access to every woman, irrespective of her work status, whether government or private employees, to facilitate the registration of complaint related to sexual harassment. Once a complaint is submitted to the ‘SHe-Box’, it will be directly sent to the concerned authority having jurisdiction to take action into the matter. To register a complaint CLICK HERE for more details.