The Prevention Sexual Harassment cell is committed to
- Observing the law on Sexual Harassment
- Sensitizing the community on gender issues
- Addressing complaints from victims
The law on sexual harassment
- As per the guidelines of the Supreme Court, sexual harassment is a violation of human rights and a form of systematic discrimination against women. The court has made provisions to prevent this offence along with punishing the perpetrators of sexual harassment.
- It is legally mandatory for employers and administrators to deploy measures for combating and redressing incidents of sexual harassment in their organizations.
Definition of sexual harassment
According to the Supreme Court, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcomed sexually determined behaviour. It includes:
- Physical contact, gestures, or stalking
- A demand or request for sexual favors
- Sexually oriented remarks
- Showing pornography
- Use of electronic media (phone, internet, intranet) for committing any of the above
- Any other unwelcomed physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
It is important to note here that what constitutes sexual harassment is defined by the victim, and not by the perpetrator.
Recognizing sexual harassment
Sexual harassment could be difficult to identify due to prevailing and persistent myths such as:
- decently dressed women are not sexually harassed,
- women who object to sexual harassment are over-reacting,
- women keep quiet when harassed because they like eve-teasing,
In addition, it is further fueled by the sexist attitudes of the male part such as:
- provocatively dressed women ask to be sexually harassed and have no right to complain.
The above situations are the perfect examples of how women are victimized and traumatized due to this offence.
Attempts to influence/threaten by linking professional advancement with sexual favors, or creating a hostile work environment through i.e. sexually colored conversations, letters, telephone calls and text messages, or making demeaning comments about women's roles in society comes under the cases sexual harassment.
In short, the definition of sexual harassment is broad enough to include all kinds of offensive, hostile, intimidating, humiliating and exploitative language, gestures and conducts.
Do's and Don't's
- Don't feel a sense of shame. Tell the harasser very clearly that you find this behaviour offensive.
- Don't ignore the harassment in hope that it will stop by its own; Come forward and protest.
- Talk to someone you trust about harassment. It will not only give you strength, but also help others to come forward and protest.
- Keep a detailed record of all incidents related to the sexual harassment. If you feel the need to register a formal complaint later, this record will be helpful.
- Most importantly, the victim must never blame herself for the harassment.
- If informal methods such as telling the perpetrator to stop harassing do not succeed, the victim can lodge a complaint through email or by a telephone call to any of the members.
- The complainant's name and identity will be kept confidential.
- After it has been proved that the offender has indulged in sexual harassment, appropriate punitive action will be taken against him, irrespective of his status in the institute - whether staff, faculty or student.
- Only victim or her heir can file the complaint.
- The victim can contact the Women Cell members by email or a telephone call and then lodge complaint.
- For more detail - www.ugc.ac.in/page/UGC-Regulations.aspx