Sexual Harassment

According to the Supreme Court Judgement, sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implications), such as the following:

  • Physical contact and advances
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Showing pornography
  • Any other unwelcome, physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

Where any of these acts is committed in circumstances whereunder the victim of such conduct has a reasonable apprehension, that in relation to the victim’s employment or work whether she is drawing salary, or honorarium or voluntary whether any Government, public or private enterprise, such conduct can be humiliating and may constitute a health and safety problem. It is discriminatory, for instance, when the woman has reasonable grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her employment or work including recruiting or promotion or when it creates a hostile work environment that adverse consequences might be visited if the victim does not consent to the conduct in question or raises any objection thereto.

- The Judgement further states

According to the Code of Conduct at Work Place prepared by the National Commission for Women in 1998, sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviour by any person either individually or in association with other persons or by any person in authority, whether directly or by implications, such as the following:

  • Eve Teasing
  • Unsavoury remarks
  • Jokes causing or likely to cause awkwardness or embarrassment
  • Innuendos and taunts.
  • Gender based insults or sexist remarks
  • Unwelcome sexual overtone in any manner such as over telephone (obnoxious telephone calls) and the like
  • Touching or brushing against any part of the body and the like
  • Displaying pornographic or other offensive or derogatory pictures, cartoons, pamphlets or sayings
  • Forcible physical touch or molestation and
  • Physical confinement against one’s will and any other act likely to violate one’s privacy

How To Prevent it

Although sexual harassment is an occurrence that hasn’t been eliminated, you can prevent it from happening to you. Here’s how:

Be aware
In avoiding sexual harassment, you must first know more about it. Any unwelcome sexual behavior, be it nonverbal, verbal, or physical, can be considered as sexual harassment. In college, offenders may be friends, other students, strangers, and even teachers or other college employees. Do some research and understand the causes, effects, law, and policies that are related to sexual harassment. It’s also important for you to know where you should go and who you could talk to in case you become a victim of sexual harassment.

Take the necessary precautions to avoid sexual harassment

  • Don’t provoke attention. Dress appropriately wherever you go.
  • Be aware of where you are and stay alert. Make sure that you know the place you’re in. Don’t go to places you don’t know very well, especially during nighttime. If you have to go somewhere that you haven’t been to before, ask a friend to accompany you.
  • Know that teasing and joking of a sexual nature also stands as sexual harassment. If you’re uncomfortable with this, make it known.
  • In case you’re being sexually harassed in any way, let others know. Don’t be afraid to speak out and protect yourself.

Complaint Redressal

  • A complaint of sexual harassment may be lodged with the Principal/Teacher-in-Charge in writing by the complainant.
  • Under special circumstances an individual, who may be friend/colleague/teacher/parent of the complainant, may make a written complaint on behalf of the complainant.

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