This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Manish Bhatia. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

PoSH Training Could’ve Helped Me Stand Up To My Immoral Boss

That uncomfortable moment when you walk out of your boss’s cabin feeling visually molested. That’s what I felt every time I would drop into his office, which was every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. On alternate days, he would go to the other branches. It was hard enough to discuss work in his cabin. I had to dodge every lustful bullet gaze that he targeted towards me. At first, I thought his eyes were naturally droopy, plus he was in his 70s. How was I to know, until the office boy pointed out to me that my boss was a cunning scanner?

I started to carry some extra files with me from then on. I would cover my already covered-up professional attire with those files before entering his cabin. This was my first stage of denial. I thought that if I consciously covered myself with objects, I would be able to navigate his attention to my work rather than myself. He stared nonetheless. It was awkward and self-deprecating to my aspirations of being a working professional.

Looking back 10 years from now, would I have responded in the same manner or spoken-up? I don’t know. My boss would stare, but he never did anything more than that. The news articles that I have read — women have had experiences way worse than mine. But none of us should have to go through even an inch of this experience. Yet, we go through them and seldom have the understanding of what to do next or how to respond in these situations. It is essential, therefore, to be trained to identify sexual harassment and to know what your next steps should be.

Identifying Sexual Harassment at Work:

First things first, I didn’t even realize that I was being ogled at until it was made clear to me by the office boy who had been working there for more than 7 years. I worked there for 3 years and then left for better prospects.

There are two types of oglers, at least of which I have come across. The first kind is the ones you have the misfortune of meeting while travelling in public places. These could include metros, trains, platforms, etc. They continue to stare at you until you finally have to confront them. The second kind is the type my boss was. This type of ogling is usually done slyly. You can’t really say what they’re doing. So you can’t really complain with any substantial proof.

But these, as I said, are not the only experiences women have had of being ogled at; they’ve experienced worse scenarios and I am lucky to not be in their shoes. So what does sexual harassment at work constitute? Here’s what I’ve found:

  • Experiencing unwelcomed physical contact like touching, kissing, hugging, pinching, patting and grabbing. Sexual assault is the most extreme of experiences.
  • Being subjected to sexual gestures or lewd comments from co-workers or superiors can create a hostile environment. This could include in-person activity, text messages, phone calls, emails, videos, or sharing inappropriate social media posts.
  • Some superiors or co-workers have been known to make sexual demands in return for a favour. This could include giving you that much-needed urgent loan that you required or the advance in salary or letting you leave early from work. They would then expect you to compromise with them for demands that are mainly sexual.
  • Gender-based harassment has also been a long-standing injustice amid the workplace. Although women are much likely to be affected by this, there have been reported cases from men, other gender identities and orientation.

Using PoSH Training to Identify and Combat Sexual Harassment at Work:

If preventive measures were put into effect by all companies, there would have been some form of monitoring of unwelcomed behaviour. Here’s why I wish I knew about PoSH training. Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) is training required to help all working professionals understand and practice appropriate behaviour at work with colleagues and subordinates. It is required to sensitise administrators towards incidents reported and also train the internal committee at work to deal with grievances of such nature.

When is the right time to complain? Right away! Often, the victim remains silent about these incidents and lets the matter slip away until it may be too late. Although it is not easy to face these unfortunate circumstances, it is strongly recommended that the victim of sexual harassment notify the company management at the earliest.

How to Enable to PoSH Training and Consulting?

There are various experienced and professional PoSH trainers. The objective is to find the right consultant to suit your company’s purposes for its employees. PoSH guidelines are to be followed stringently. This involves periodic training given to employees, other staff and even the senior management.

I was genuinely hesitant to stand up for myself. Sometimes, I wish I could have done something, but it proved rather complicated for me to process my next steps. Companies should establish measures to prevent any form of sexual harassment at work. This can include the formation of procedures to enable women employees to approach management comfortably should there be an unforeseen event of this nature. They should be able to bring a complaint without fear of losing their job or reputation of character.

A safer workplace is a productive workplace.

You must be to comment.

More from Manish Bhatia

Similar Posts

By Kashish Lalwani

By Aayush Pandey

By Shorya Mittal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below