In India, cases of sexual harassment at the workplace often go unreported as many victims prefer to remain quiet for the fear of losing jobs or face humiliation. Remember Sexual harassment is illegal. Also, this is one among the prime reasons for women leaving their jobs midway. However, women employees can help prevent workplace sexual harassment through alertness, instinct and simple common sense.
Basic knowledge of sexual harassment
First of all, know what sexual harassment is, what gestures, activities, actions can be considered as a sexual harassment. A basic knowledge of sexual harassment is very essential for every employee to know so that you can create your own boundaries while dealing with others at the workplace.
Be respectful in your interactions
It is always necessary to be respectful in your interactions with your colleagues, including your interactions with your boss, seniors, supervisors, and subordinates. Never give that impression that you are over-friendly and easily available. Maintain professionalism in all your approach and maintain a one-arm distance with everyone whom you deal with at the workplace, no matter how close you are with him or her at personal level.
No means No
Be assertive. A “No means No” and no one can force upon you to do something that you are not comfortable with. Be it your boss asking to stay back after office hours or be it your colleague touching your back while you are at the seat or that supervisor sending you unwanted mails or maybe that subordinate complimenting you, if you are not liking it, stop that right away. Say “NO” strongly and clearly so that the message is loud and clear if you want a particular behavior to cease. This is not a time to be polite or vague.
Send a message to the harasser
This often helps in stopping sexual harassment if the harasser is good enough to understand your plight. Keep the message polite but stern and factual with details of the offending behavior, stating simply that you want that particular behavior to stop as it affects you a lot. At times, a situation or act which may be disturbing for you may not be same for others. Or it can also be that the person whom you think is sexually harassing you may not be aware of the fact that you are being harassed by him, and this can be purely unintentional. Hence, sending a message proves helpful sometimes.
If you feel that one of your colleagues or supervisor is pestering you a lot and if you feel you cannot speak up, talk with one of your close associates for further help and guidance or talk to your boss. And if you are harassed by your boss himself, then it is necessary to contact other higher authorities.
Keep records: It is always better to keep records or save any letters, e-mail, or notes which you find to be demoralizing, which will come in handy for you at the time of reporting any case to senior authorities.
WHAT NO TO DO
- Do not blame yourself
- Do not delay
- Do not remain silent
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