Though tolerance is called a virtue, it would be foolish to be tolerant in such a situation. Your tolerance will only encourage the perpetrator to continue taking advantage of your silence and interpret it as your submissiveness.
|This is what you can do:
- Shed our mentality of tolerance. We have to stop telling ourselves that this kind of behaviour on the part of men is inevitable and unavoidable.
- Reinforce your statements with strong, self-respecting body language: eye contact, head up, shoulders back, a strong, serious stance. Don't smile. Timid, submissive body language will undermine your message.
- Respond at the appropriate level. Use a combined verbal and physical response to physical harassment
- Express strong resistance the first time it occurs. Your soft behaviour can send out wrong signals of your consent.
- Keep your self-respect intact by not allowing anyone to enter your comfort zone by passing lewd remarks.
- Be vocal about anyone’s conduct which makes you feel uncomfortable. Protest loudly and at once. Let others know that such conduct has been meted out to you.
- Keep safe distance from the offending party.
- Don’t think that leaving the job or ignoring the situation will help you. Put an end to it there and then by taking action against the harasser. Remember, if you leave the job, there will be another sufferer after you.
- File a complaint with the superior or register a First Information Report with the police station. While doing so remember the following points:
- Take charge of the situation and make the harasser accountable for his actions.
- Don’t be lenient by hiding anything assuming that it was your imagination. Remember privacy will protect the harasser.
- Be honest, straightforward and blunt.
- Be specific about his behaviour
- Don’t get swayed by the harasser’s apparently remorseful behaviour. For all you know it might be emotional blackmail.
Every person deserves to work in a safe and secure environment. Instancs of sexual harassment not only affect the performance of an individual but also have long lasting effects on his/her mental and emotional framework thereby leaving a lifelong scar.
Due to awareness about the issue and through the support of media and social organisations, there has been a shift in the way society looks at a victim of sexual oppression. Remember that your voice will lend support to thousands of others who are suffering in silence.