Sometime we don’t even realize that the small thing happening around us leads to serious problems, Sexual harassment
• Physical contact • A demand or request for sexual favours
• Sexually colored remarks
• Showing pornography
• Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
• Sexual or gender-based jokes or teasing or comments
• Comments about clothing, personal behavior, or a person’s body
• Requesting sexual favours
• Pressure for dates
• Graphic descriptions of pornography
• Obscene phone calls
• Spreading rumours about a person’s personal or sex life
• Turning work discussions to sexual topics( using “puns”)
• Staring • Sizing up a person’s body(looking up and down)
• Derogatory gesture of a sexual nature
• Sexually suggestive looks
• Facial expressions of a sexual nature; winking, licking lips
• Unwelcome hugging, kissing
• Standing too close to or brushing up against another person, leaning over, invading a person’s space
• Patting, stroking, grabbing or pinching
• Blocking someone’s path with the purpose of making a sexual advance
• Actual or attempted sexual assault, or forced fonding
• Presence of posters, cartoons, drawings calendars, pinups, pictures, computer programs of a sexual nature
• Notes or e-mail containing sexual comments
• Knick-knacks and other objects of a sexual nature.
A study by the National Labour Institute recorded 5,671 reported cases of sexual harassment at the workplace in 1996, which grew to 10,950 in 2007- a growth of 93%. However, most of case is unregistered. Incorporate world sexual harassment is very common and in most of the cases no report is filed by women, they keep shut their mouths, thinking that it will bring shame to them, people laugh on them, colleague will spread nasty rumors and no one will believe them.
A very thin line divides casual flirtation from sexual harassment. Casual flirt is normal in work placed, it is good unless and until it abate anyone self-respect. A spurned colleague may spread rumors that you slept with him, causing you to lose your sleep, self confidence, and consider quitting the company. Any such activities which affect your career and personal life should be the subject to raise the red flag over.
If you’re uncomfortable about someone’s touch, keep a safe distance. If it continues, then confront that person tactfully and mutually, so that he doesn’t retaliate. If that doesn’t stop then report it to the HR, and bring all the evidence (sms, letter, emails) with you regarding offensive encounters. Also, carry all letters of commendation, awards and anything that will collaborate your positive job performance.
In US, company can’t even breathe without having the law, against sexual harassment as a part of HR. The equal opportunities commission brings men & women under its purview, unlike in India, who provides protection only to women.
Indian HR policy should look into this issue and all offices are mandated to constitute a committee to prevent and reduce such cases, so that women feel more safe and comfortable at work place.