Survey discloses the bitter truth about rampant sexual harassment in Indian offices. So what are we doing?

About 40% of women face sexual harassment at work. If you don't believe us, believe the figures.

Sarwat Fatima Sarwat Fatima Jan 11, 2017
It's shameful that women are not safe anywhere. Photo: Shutterstock/ IndiaPicture

If gender wage gap is not enough of an irritant in the professional lives of women worldwide, sexual harassment at the workplace adds to the already-long list of tribulations.

It's shameful that women are not safe anywhere. Not at home, not on streets, and definitely not in that cubicle at work. And it's not just a figment of our imagination. The data collected by a survey by Indian National Bar Association reveals some shocking figures.

The surveyors got 6,047 participants, both male and female, to respond to the questionnaire-states the findings, published by FirstPost.

Most of the respondents were from sectors like IT, media, education, legal, medical, and agriculture. Around 38% of the participants said they faced sexual harassment at the workplace.

The respondent victims belonged to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, and other cities. As many as 69% of these victims did not file an official complaint with the management fearing the worse.

Also read: Six legal rights every girl in India should know of

Women, especially avoided taking up the matter with the authorities, citing reasons such as fear, embarrassment, unawareness, and lack of faith in the redressal mechanism. Most of these victims eventually took matters in their own hands.

Shockingly, 65% of participants agreed that they did not see to it if their company was following the proper process of redressal, as dictated by Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Unfortunately, lack of awareness is not the only factor that is stopping the victims from pursuing the matter further. About 67% of the respondents said the committee responsible for passing a judgment in such cases is unfair--mainly due to the association and personal relationship with the accused.

It's no surprise that companies try to dust the matter under the carpet, in order to safeguard its reputation and at times even the future of the perpetrator. In the process, they conveniently overlook the trauma and discomfort it causes the person who was harassed.

The survey also revealed that the nature of harassment usually lingers on the periphery of inappropriate comments, touching, and physical harassment.

Seeing the staggering stats, it makes us question the authenticity and purpose of redressal forums to tackle sexual harassment cases in workplaces. If reports are to be believed, they are really not doing their job well, and once again the onus to keep herself safe, lies on the woman alone. Now, why are we not surprised?

To read the full report click here.

Also read: How a series of sexual crimes has sparked a women's revolution in Bengaluru

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