BENGALURU: A survey by the Indian National Bar Association (NBA) on sexual harassment at workplace showed that a very high percentage of women were prone to it, despite legislation to prevent the same.
The survey which involved a total of 6,047 respondents from cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and others, also reflected that 68.9 per cent of the victims did not complain about the same.
The NBA had carried out a survey for employees working in BPOs, IT sector, education, medical and other sectors. Of the respondents, 78 per cent were women, while 22 per cent were men. To a question on where they experienced sexual assault, 38 per cent said that it was the workplace, while 22 per cent responded as schools. The remaining 40 per cent said that it had occurred at other places.
Another finding of the survey was that of the victims, 68.9 per cent did not complain to their superiors.
The reasons, according to them, were fear, embarrassment, lack of confidence in the complaint mechanism and stigma attached to sexual assault. The people who were commonly responsible for such assaults, as per the survey, were their immediate superiors, colleagues and others in the organisation. The average duration during which a victim suffers harassment is six months to one year, before any form of complaint is filed.
The victims, as per the responses to the questionnaire, were harassed by showing sexually explicit pictures or videos, touching the victim in an unwelcome manner, passing lewd comments, flashing or exposing and by being forced to provide sexual favours.
Lack of awareness
Lack of awareness in companies and individuals of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, was also noted during the survey.
Zameer Nathani, Honorary National Secretary of NBA said that the most shocking discovery was the lack
of awareness Act. “The Act has clearly defined the rights of the women and the complaint mechanism to be at the workplace. It has defined the complete details from the act to whom and where to complaint, duties of internal committees, protection to the victim, do’s and don’t of the inquiry committee, rights of respondent etc. Once there is awareness regarding the same, we would find the cases of sexual harassment dealt in a better way and would also lead to a decline.” he added.