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Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace

In today’s growing world where opportunities are increasing and people are migrating from country to country and from continent to continent for jobs and better facilities for future and for family but sometimes they don’t even think about the environment they are working in also they compromise with the situation for career and lack of suitable job. Therefore people compromise their peace of mind and self respect for the sake of earning livelihood and often get molested at workplace by seniors, employers and influential men.

 Harassment can occur in many different social settings such as the workplace, school, churches, etc. Workplaces nowadays have some or the other anti social elements that disturb other people’s lives. Harassers or victims may be of either gender. In modern time’s legal contexts, sexual harassment is illegal.

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In India Laws surrounding sexual harassment generally do not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or minor isolated incidents—that is due to the fact that they do not want any action as they fear they may lose on their job and also they do not talk about it openly ,in the workplace, harassment may be considered illegal when it is frequent or severe thereby creating a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim's demotion, firing or quitting). Cultural, social and gender differences may also lead to harassment. Sexual harassment by an employer is a form of illegal employment discrimination.

Sexual harassment may occur in a variety of circumstances:

 The perpetrator can be anyone, such as a client, a co-worker, a parent or legal guardian, relative, a teacher or professor, a student, a friend, or a stranger.

 The victim and perpetrator can be any gender.

 The perpetrator does not have to be of the opposite sex.

 An incident may be a one-time occurrence.

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With the increase in social evils such as sexual harassment and rape there is an increase in ways in which we can prevent them as well, earlier people did not talked about it openly but now people are talking about it and Government as well as Non Governmental organizations(NGO’S) both are working towards it. “PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE” and by not compromising with working environment a person can prevent greater problems.

Prevention can be done in following ways:

 From childhood, children should be given knowledge about good and bad touch it should be started from home itself and schools should also participate in teaching children.

 Sexual harassment does not look upon gender, it does not discriminate between girls and boys therefore both girls and boys both should be given proper education or awareness that may help children in these situations. Also it is important to understand that sexual harassment is different from rape, touching someone inappropriately and talking about sexual activities, masturbation in front of someone when the person is alone, asking for sexual favours and after rejection insulting the person all these comes sexual harassment differentiation should be made between the two.

 In schools, offices or any other workplace special cell should be made so that people can easily go there and talk about their problems related to sexual harassment. These cells should be given authority to take action and should not be biased for powerful people.

 If a person is harassed by someone then he or she should defiantly go appeal in the court as it is their right and duty as well to raise their voice against wrong, so that they can set an example for everybody around them which is useful for humanity .

 Government should also try and support people who have gone through sexual harassment by organizing special sessions and meetings so that the people who suffered mental, physical and emotional trauma may get certain help for covering up the wounds that get embedded after certain amount of time .

 Parents should teach their children about Indian laws that are mentioned in the constitution against sexual harassment, but the most important thing is that parents should themselves take about their children that they are aware about the social evils that prevails in society and that these will cross their children’s ways in future. Parents should be more open about these issues and should talk with them.

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Government solely cannot handle social issues because it is the people itself who lack information about certain issues even when they are aware they do not want to talk about it and often neglect these issues because they want to save their so called “izzat “ in society at the stake of their and their children’s lives destroyed. In our Indian constitution laws are also mentioned to punish people who harass other people sexually at work place. For women in 2013, the Government of India notified the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressed) Act. Consistent with the Vishaka judgment, the Act aspires to ensure women’s right to workplace equality, free from sexual harassment through compliance with the elements of Prohibition, Prevention and Redressed.

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Conclusion

Sexual harassment is considered to be violation of fundamental’s right of human being. It is against the human rights standards set at the international level .the sexual harassment against women at workplace act as an alternative structure and process is welcomed, but needs much alteration. In India there are no such laws made for men in these issues, we cannot neglect the fact men in some or the other way they may be facing sexual harassment at workplaces. Moreover, the utmost need at this time is a change in the mindset of the people to understand the fears.

This post is written by Medhavi Jain, of Sophia Girls College, Ajmer.

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