Saturday, November 23, 2013

To prevent further sexual harassment, press charges.

Risking accusations of misogyny, I want to write about recent victims of sexual harassment.

1. Supreme Court interns allegedly harassed by a retired SC Judge don't want to press charges.

2. A journalist working for an organization which specializes in public exposes, was allegedly raped by her Editor but didn't press charges for a week and despite a national outrage and absence of a Sexual Harassment Committee in her office, still won't go to police herself.

3. A woman allegedly snooped/stalked by Gujarat govt officials at the instance of a 'saheb', is allegedly asking her father to write to NCW and GCW to claim that snooping was infact protection given to her and that there should be no investigation in this regard.

4. A senior executive of a IT services company which employs tens of thousands of high-skilled women, was accused of sexual harassment but was allowed to settle instead of being prosecuted. He went onto become the CEO of another company which also employs thousands of high-skilled women and was again accused of sexual harassment ... and again allowed to go without charges being pressed.

Now, I think about a quote allegedly from an accused in the Mumbai journalist rape incident. Apparently they had gang-raped 4 other poor women and warned them to never tell anyone and that this gave them the confidence to attempt again with this journalist. To their credit, the journalist or her male friend (i'm not sure), reported the incident to police.

What does this tell us? If victims don't want to go to police, what is the point of protesting or blaming the police who somehow have to protect women and children from half a billion men?

Sure, police stations are not known to be safe places for victims of sexual harassment. And I would like to see, among other things,

1. establishment of all women police stations with provision for women medical examiners and prosecutors,

2. online FIRs so that its registered before we go to a police station go give testimony/evidence and

3. More women operated transport (auto-rickshaws, taxis and buses) to reassure women of their safety.

But if SC interns won't press charges and a whole bunch of feminists keeping telling us that its up to the journalist to press charges or not against her editor, in an office which doesn't have SHC, I don't know what kind of progress we are expecting.

ps: The discussions and laws on this subject mostly seem to disregard men who get sexually harassed as children and in relatively less instances as adults.