Sexual Harassment at Workplace…

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual conduct which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated where that reaction is reasonable in the circumstances. Sexual harassment is a violation of women’s human rights and dignity. It is a prohibited form of violence against women in many countries including India. Sexually harassing conduct causes devastating physical and psychological injuries to a large percentage of women around the world.

Both men and women can experience sexual harassment at work; however, it is most commonly experienced by women. These types of incidents are happened mostly in private organizations.

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Women are much more likely to be victims of sexual harassment because they more often lack of power, are in more vulnerable and insecure positions, lack of self confidence, or have been socialized to suffer in silence.

click here to read: Don’t Tolerate Mental Harassment in the Workplace

In many countries around the world includes a considerable amount of violence against women. Women are raped or sexually assaulted. Often women living with men have experienced incidents of domestic violence.

Violence by men against women exists in the workplaces also. Harassment conduct against women in the workplaces by their superiors, fellow employees, or third parties affects the integration of women in the workforce, reinforces the subordination of women to men in society, violates women’s dignity and creates a health and safety hazard at workplace.

Sexual harassment in the workplace can take various forms. It can involve unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing; suggestive comments or jokes; unwanted invitations to go out on dates or requests for sex; insults based on your sex or sexually explicit emails or messages.

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The problem of sexual harassment relates to the roles which are attributed to men and women in social and economic life, which, in turn, directly or indirectly, affects women’s positions in the workforce of any country.

Women’s entry into the workforce has been prompted by necessity, since many families cannot make ends meet if the wife and husband do not both work full-time. Furthermore, the number of single-parent families headed by women in growing. There are a large number of families in which a woman is the sole means of support.

This new and sudden influx of women into the work force brought about two simultaneous, but seemingly opposite reactions to women at work. On one hand, some men dislike female employees and perceived them as a threat in traditionally male dominated work environments. In these cases the women were subject to discrimination, that’s why they received lesser-valued job assignments, lack of promotions, lower pay, and sexual harassment to cause embarrassment and humiliation.

The second reaction was to exploit the presence of women and make sexual favors and submission to sexual behaviors conditions of employment, that is to keep from being fired, demoted, or otherwise adversely affected at work. Both are forms of sexual harassment.

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Seen in this context, male workers who harass a woman on the job are doing more than annoying her. They are reminding her of her vulnerability, creating tensions that make her job more difficult. In short, sexual harassment creates a climate of intimidation and repression. A woman who is the target of sexual harassment often goes through the same process of victimization as rape, abuse or other gender-related crimes such as frequently blaming herself and doubting her own self-worth.

There are both emotional as well as physical effects causes may occur due to sexual assault or harassment. These are

Emotional effects:

Aside from physical traumas, rape and other sexual assault often result in long-term emotional effects. These can include: denial, learned helplessness, anger, self-blame, anxiety, shame, nightmares, fear, depression, flashbacks, guilt, rationalization, mood swings, numbness, promiscuity, loneliness, social anxiety, difficulty trusting oneself or others, difficulty concentrating. Being the victim of sexual assault may lead to the development of stress disorder, addiction, major depressive disorder etc.

Physical effects:                                                                  

While sexual assault, like rape, can result in physical trauma, many people who experience sexual assault will not suffer any physical injury. Rape myths suggest that the stereotypical victim of sexual violence is a bruised and abuse young woman. Thus, physical force resulting in visible physical injury is not always seen. This stereotype can be damaging because people who have experienced sexual assault but have no physical trauma may be less inclined to report to the authorities or to seek health care. However, women who experienced rape or physical violence were more likely than people who had not experienced this violence to report frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, activity limitation, poor physical health, and poor mental health.

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If you are experiencing any kind of sexual harassment in workplaces; do protest and inform your higher authority. You should also make police complaint against it if it is necessary.

There is an act against sexual harassment against woman at workplace. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 3 September 2012. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 26 February 2013. The Bill got the assent of the President on 23 April 2013. The Act came into force from 9 December 2013. There are Guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment introduced by the Supreme Court of India.

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