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Sexual harassment against women; the curse of Indian Society

New Delhi, Thu, 06 Sep 2007 NI Wire

Abused by the person who holds their trust...Crimes against women are at rise, everyday newspapers are splashed with such incident. Educated or uneducated, working inside or outside home; they are given a dose of sexual harassment for their trust.

It was a breather that Major General A.K Lal was removed following charges of misconduct with a woman Army officer captain Neha Rawat.

In workplaces or educational institutes senior officer or lecturer demands sexual favour in returning for granting them official favours or else they are either not given the job or removed from the job. In educational institute teachers tried to be over friendly, pass coloured remarks and asked sexual favours.

There are instances where woman have shown courage to report the unwelcome behaviour though many still in the trap of judicial system and many come out victorious though it needed an endless fight. Rupan Deol Bajaj, who won a suit against K.P.S Gill, then Chief of Punjab Police, who was in a drunken state in a party slapped on her posterior. Supreme Court said that this section can not be treated lightly as it was a grave offence.

She won despite the whole public opinion that she was needlessly stretching the matter, and many even tried to suppress the matter. No body to support but Judge believed her testimony.

In 1997 Supreme Court first time explicitly defined Sexual Harassment and issued ‘Vishaka Guidelines’ on sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment was identified as a separate illegal behaviour, which includes physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography and any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

This Judgment came when the women took the effort to bring justice to Bhanwari Devi, who was raped by the upper caste people when she was trying to stop a child marriage. A trial Court acquitted the accused saying an upper caste man will not rape a lower caste woman.

Moved by her undying spirit to stand against the injustice, who was even tried to be compensated by her victimiser, women from different section launched a effort to bring her justice. A petition was filed under the platform of VISHAKHA a NGO and asked Supreme Court to take action against such crime.

Result was a landmark judgment, which not only recognised sexual harassment as illegal behaviour but also set the rules for its prevention and redressal.

It is mentally harassing for a woman to fight such case where her modesty is being outraged; even if she comes out she is blamed of blowing the matter out of proportion. Every time a women who undergo such incident, blamed of seducing with her dressing and her silence is often justified as her consent.

The fierce crime rate against women is nothing but a true picture of mentally sick people, who act to be the moral guide and end up messing themselves in such crimes , without giving a thought.

The proportion of such crime in our system points towards loopholes in our Justice delivery system. But to ask for justice we need only one Bhanwari Devi…One Bhanwari Devi to stand and say NO!


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