How I Found Out That Workplace Sexual Harassment Has A Terrible Emotional Impact

Posted by Anu Manhotra in Society
October 5, 2017

Before I dive into my story I would like to ask all the readers about Batukeshwar Dutt.

How many of us remember him?

He was an Indian revolutionary, best known for exploding a few bombs along with the great freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Unlike Bhagat Singh who was hanged, Batukeshwar was given a life imprisonment even though he begged for death too. Therefore, Batukeshwar got to see a free India and its reality which really disturbed and saddened him.

Well, I can feel the pain today very deeply and I cannot tell you how painful every moment is to see that even after 71 years of freedom we don’t get to enjoy this freedom at our workplace and employees are ill-treated, humiliated and tortured by some of the most savage men whom we call our seniors, our superiors and even sometimes our leaders.

Fighting a battle every day at the workplace is not just burdensome but also painful as ’emotional harassment’ is not limited to just an employee, but it pierces into every family member associated with that employee, especially their spouse and the children.

And the irony is that this piercing cuts you deep, yet it leaves no physical marks and blood is not seen oozing out. This harassment tortures you mentally and ruins you emotionally. It cannot be measured in a standardised way, so an employee and his family have to go through a very hard time.

Well, for most of the employees working in India, ’emotional harassment’ could be an extraterrestrial term in the professional arena.

It’s not that the Indian employees have never come across something like emotional harassment, abuse or torture. It is only because we are all so used to this phenomenon of letting ourselves be mistreated at the hands of senior management, that we never think of shielding ourselves from this ill-treatment. The similarity of this with our pre-independence era behaviour is startling.

I am talking about it because I cannot stand anyone who stands for it. One such heartless case shook me from within and made me question the dignity of an employee at the workplace in India. After so many years of Independence, an incident like this was happening in one of the well-known boarding school of India.

So, I raised my voice and I tried to bring this issue up. The first thing that happened was that they shut me down.

I thought when I will raise my voice against the issue and write about it to the management, they will seriously probe into it. But rather than understanding and discussing the problem, they not only simply denied it, but also went a step ahead and sent a warning letter, using unprofessional and threatening language.

For the first time in my writing journey, I realised how scared they were of the power of the ink and I was indeed proud of myself to see them getting scared. It will certainly encourage any good believer, to write more and even better, to leave a strapping impression and call for change.

One thing that strikes my mind is the attitude of superiors, trying to build the future of this nation because they are the people who are heading a big school in India. It also makes me worry about the future of our children, who are getting educated by these selfish and valueless mentors.

Many schools are fighting hard to stop the teen bullying. However, in this school teen bullying is not the only problem. Adult managers bully others is also openly rampant. Groups boycott an honest employee, publicly humiliate them, isolate and abuse them. These activities are quite common and this has been happening because the managers are allowed to do so by the superiors.

And this is where I realised that this area of ’emotional harassment’ which is very subtle to define needs a strong platform, from where an honest employee can stand, fight and raise his voice.

Dear readers, we need to realise that harassment can happen regardless of the gender in question. There are cases where men harass other men and women harass other women. While we definitely need more stringent laws against sexual harassment, we should not turn a blind eye to this type of harassment either.

When we understand the term ‘harassment at workplace’ and define it, we solve half the problem. And this is why I am trying to write so much about it.

We need clear rules and guidelines at our workplace that defines and gives no one a right to

  • Publicly humiliate any employee
  • Abuse
  • Emotionally torture
  • Gives impossible deadlines to complete the work
  • Isolate from the work
  • Making biased committees, without any verbal or written warning

As employees, we shall be aware of our rights and enjoy our freedom even at the workplace. When we decide to work for any organisation/institute we allow ourselves to grow, learn and improve but not be used, abused or tortured.

Talking in statistical code, in India around 90% of employees are emotionally abused and publicly humiliated but these employees do not talk about it. The number one reason why they never report it because they are confident that they will never get support from their co-workers, peers or superiors – because everyone wants to save their own job.

I see that coyness and being submissive is the biggest weakness that has led to emotional harassment taking deep roots in the Indian work environment. We don’t work as team, we don’t see communication as a powerful tool to solve problems, even though we pour in a lot of money and time in soft skills training. we don’t really work the way 21

We don’t really work the way 21st-century workforce is designed to be, we behave just the way our selfish emperors, rulers and kings did when the British invaded us.

Even today we are thinking of our own benefit, we are never together, we never raise our voice when it needs to be raised and later we have so many comments. I see nothing has changed we are still being ruled by some of the superiors who carry some false haughtiness of departed British officers.

This selfish attitude is indeed very dangerous at any workplace. And if this attitude creeps into the institutional area, it will bring in doom as educated minds with no values are no less than devils.

No employee deserves to be treated as worthless and the biggest weapon in this fight is strength, courage and voice.

So, be a true professional, stand up and fight against this harassment and enjoy your freedom even at the workplace because being alive, free and awake as a free citizen of India will hold no good until and unless we are free even at our workplaces.

Remember, you might be the only one at this moment, but we all know the power of one if you raise your voice with full vigor and strength, you will be no less than a powerful explosion, much like what Bhagat Singh rightly said, “If the deaf are to hear, you need to make a big sound.”