Can Technology Help Weed Out Sexual Harassment, Early On?

By Faakirah Irfan

“In all societies, both women and men are powerfully conditioned to repress the daily realities of (sexual harassment and workplace glass ceilings) and to collude with the rest of society in keeping these dimensions of shared experiences hidden.” 
 ~William Keepin, Divine Duality

Sexual harassment has become an issue, both men and women have started lobbying against proactively. However, when this harassment happens behind office doors, it is packaged as casual sexism. This acceptance of casual sexism in work spaces, results in the breeding of sexual harassment, something one in every three women have faced in their lifetime.

The constant amendment of laws that deal with sexual harassment at the workplace, our country is taking the much-required steps in making the office a safer space for women.There have been several instances of women having the courage to stand up to their perpetrators without the fear of choosing between their jobs and justice.

Role played by Social Media
It is not the law that has given women the courage to come forward but social media, which has been a major catalyst in pressuring corporations to take swift action. The anonymity allowed by social media has given survivors the courage to speak up. There have been several cases of survivors raising their voices and bringing attention towards the crimes charged against them. This shows that social media has enabled us with the means to protest. Yet, this is not a sustainable, or legitimate way to address the issue.

Having laws is not enough
What makes us lag behind is the lack of knowledge about the different laws in place to protect us. We need to create awareness about these laws and their consequences among companies, employers, employees and the management.

Even though we have a mechanism in place to deal with sexual harassment, what we lack far behind in is, its implementation. An issue as serious as sexual harassment which drains survivors physically, psychologically and financially, cannot await justice at the hands of whether social media decides to make it viral or not.
 
Leveraging technology
To help put more sustainable mechanisms in place, SHEROES, a growth network for women, has developed a mobile application called SHE that provides a complete 24/7 helpline for the employees and training modules along with help in the implementation of the guidelines for corporates.

The world is dependent on technology today and interventions such as these, generate awareness and also address the issue, early on. We need to start talking about because the biggest weapon in the hands of the perpetrator is the silence of survivors, and society, at large.

Faakirah Irfan is a lawyer, activist and counsellor at SHEROES

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