It was an eye opener for many women, as Sheila Jayaprakash, advocate, Madras High Court, explained the salient features of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013. “Previously, only workers in the organised sector were able to file complaints relating to sexual harassment but today, thanks to this new Act, women in the unorganised sector and domestic workers are able to register complaints,” she said on Friday. The Bill got the assent of the President on April 23, 2013 and the Act came into effect on December 9, 2013.
At a consultation on halting violence against women organised by Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (HRF) and Beti Zindabad - Campaign for Gender Equality, eminent women advocates and NGO workers educated women and unorganised workers on the laws and provisions to prevent, prohibit and redress cases of rape, sexual harassment and gender oppression.
“For a woman, the fear of sexual harassment is always lurking in her mind,” said writer R Revathy. Describing violence against women as ‘a knife constantly hanging over a woman’s head’, the writer deemed every form of violence against women as a manifestation of the male domination that society has been witnessing since ages.
A Gandhimathi, director, LAW Trust, slammed multimedia for their obscene portrayal of women. “There is no right on our own body and the mindset of society is influenced so much that women themselves allow their bodies to be treated as public property,” she said.