6 Reasons Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Harassment At Workplace
“Men will be men”
“The Boss is always right.”
“We all have to deal with our coworkers. It’s nothing, don’t fret.”
“Hota hai, Chalta hai.”
This is the kind of stuff women professionals hear when they bring up sexism and harassment at work. These are the kind of excuses used to silence women reporting inappropriate behaviour by male colleagues.
Not so fun fact. One in three women face sexual harassment in the workplace, according the survey by Indian National Bar Association. Of these 70% cases aren’t even reported. Here are some reasons why:
Reason 1 & 2: Fear of being judged. And job loss
“To be honest, that dress was too short for the office. You can’t blame him really.” We live in a society where the victim is blamed for inciting acts of harassment, through her behaviour or choice of clothing. And even when they are aware and do step up, fear looms large. Judgement, labelling, professional and societal retaliation — who would want to venture into such risky waters, especially while running the risk of losing the job?
Reason 3: Not knowing it is sexual harassment
Women don’t even realise that what they are experiencing at work constitutes sexual harassment. Absence of a clear definition of what qualifies as sexual harassment is just one of the reasons why so many cases go unreported.
Reason 4: Fear of not being believed
If the harasser is in a position of power — women fear that their word will be meaningless against a harasser’s and often believe that no one will do anything about the problem. They fear retaliation and social stigma attached to cases of sexual harassment.
Reason 5: Lack of enough evidence
Women generally don’t report the cases immediately, and often don’t have enough evidence to back their case. The ICC hence fails to support a woman without documentary evidence or eyewitnesses.
Reason 6: They don’t want anyone to know
For all the reasons mentioned, it seems easier to keep it to themselves and “forget” about it. Women try to run away from it as it is a stigma which will “label” them for life and will be an obstacle in their professional and personal life.
But times are changing. With the POSH Act implemented, we have no reason not to step up. Let’s build a space for our voice, because the change starts from us. Break out of silence and #TakeCharge now!