Contrary to popular notion, sexual harassment is rampant in today’s workplace and both the genders are at the receiving end of it though the magnitude is much greater for women in particular. So here are some tips to make you prepared to combat any kind of sexual harassment in the workplace.
1.Stay alert: Sexual harassment may occur in many forms from seemingly harmless yet offending jokes and messages to the more severe molestation and even forced intercourse. Of course you don’t have to be paranoid all the time, but at least keep your eyes and ears open and don’t neglect any inappropriate gesture just because they seem trivial.
2.Never give in: Remember that once you give in to these maniacs’ demands in whatever form they come, it will just make them bolder and increase the intensity of their next offence. So stand your ground and no matter what’s at stake, never make the mistake of giving in under the false notion that it’s just this one time.
3.Don’t be hard on yourself: A lot many sexual harassment victims have admitted that some time or the other, they have held themselves responsible for their fate. Maybe it was something with their manners or attire that sent out the wrong signals. Never ever think on those lines. The only person responsible is the harasser and there shouldn’t be another opinion about it.
4.Speak up: Don’t bear the torture or embarrassment silently. It will just prod the harasser to take the matter one step further. Stand up to him and say stop. Make your discomfort known to the harasser even on paper if it so requires. That way, later on he won’t be able to feign innocence and get away with the whole thing.
5.Find out if there are other victims: The harasser could be a serial offender or you could just be his first victim. So make sure which out of the two it is. If there are others, you can together stand up to him. If that doesn’t work, at least you will have some corroborative evidence in case you have to take the matter to court later on.
6.Keep all the evidence: Make sure not to delete any offensive mails or messages you received from the harasser. Maintain a log of every incident of sexual harassment, even the minutest. These will help you later on to strengthen your case.
7.Make use of the internal grievance redressal system: Most workplaces these days have a grievance redressal cell and you can make use of it. If the harassment doesn’t stop even after your repeated warnings to the harasser, don’t think twice before making use of the internal grievance mechanism. Even the trade union will be able to help you in such instances.
8.Take it outside: We are not asking you to bash the harasser up on his way home from office. Just take the matter up with external authorities including the police if the harassment is severe. And no one can stop you from filing a lawsuit against the harasser, and even the company if the top management turns a deaf ear to your repeated complaints or tries to hush things up.
These are the tips to combat sexual harassment at workplace.