From Home To Work, The Fear Of Sexual Harassment Follows Women Everywhere

Editor’s note: This story is in response to Youth Ki Awaaz’s topic for this week – #SexismAtWork to start conversations on how we can tackle sexual harassment at work. If you have a story to share, would like to share your opinion on recently reported incidents or policy reforms that can be put in place, write to us here.

Today, when women are competing and moving ahead in every field, it means that they are going out of their homes for work. The question that comes into one’s mind is whether there can be an ideal workplace for women? And if not, then should women not work and be independent? Are they, then, to be enslaved by or dependent on men forever? Despite being strong-willed, women are having a hard time in today’s society.

As soon as they get out of their homes they are hauled by the fear of molestation. From one door to the other, from home to their workplace, the fear continues. Before choosing to work outside, they first need to prepare themselves for the consequences they may face. They need to prepare themselves for the authority that might harm her or the pressure that she might face or the scrutinizing gazes that might pierce her soul. And this has become a routine behavior for women going out of their homes for the first time.

Here is a story of Rati, 26 who lives in Jharkhand and works as an employee in a mobile company. Recalling her older job, she feels disgusted. Being the only earning member of her family, she had to work in any and every circumstance. During the first day of her work, she was nervous yet excited. She was warmly welcomed by her colleagues and seniors. She felt overwhelmed. But the special attention and extra care by one of her seniors worried her. The more she ignored him, the bolder he got in his advances. It then went further and the senior started touching her inappropriately. She felt embarrassed and suppressed. She knew that if she raised her voice, it would be of no use as she was new. Going to the police would mean no income and even more problems for her family. So she chose to leave the job.

Every second girl facing sexual abuse at workplace is unable to raise her voice or get justice. They simply keep switching jobs, either because of the fear of their family being harmed or because they feel that some part of the society cannot be changed. They have to hide their arms, their bellies, their cleavage and their thoughts. They are bullied, teased, molested and what not.

The assaults to their bodies and to their souls need to stop. Being a woman is the biggest gift of life. Why waste it by being ruled by someone else. We women own our bodies and it’s we who have the right to decide what to hide and what to flaunt, where to work and where not to, to work until what time, to not work at all. If anybody questions us over this, we need to raise our voices because nobody can snatch away our rights in the society. We are women. We are fierce tigresses, not afraid of anything. We just need to know our worth and strength and fight against molestation at workplace or anywhere else.

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