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More men cry sexual harassment at work-DNA

More men cry sexual harassment at work
Helpline launched by SIFF, MRA in June last year receives at least five calls a day
Chaitraly Deshmukh l PUNE

While a recent nationwide survey said that at least 17 per cent of working women in India have experienced sexual harassment at their workplace, it seems men too are falling victim to sexual banter at workplace.
The helpline for men facing sexual harassment from women at workplace launched by NGOs Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) and Men’s Rights Association (MRA) in June last year has been receiving at least five calls a day. Techies, government officials and those working in private firms are the callers, claim the NGOs.
SIFF member Rajesh Vakharia said, “We were concentrating on misuse of the Domestic Violence Act, but calls from men on sexual abuse and mental harassment prompted us to start the helpline. The facility is available in Pune, Nagpur, Bangalore and Delhi.”
Digvijay Pawar (27), working in Vimannagar-based IT company said, “I hail from Mumbai and shifted to Pune after getting a job two years ago. My sympathy for a senior colleague, who was a widow, bothered other women colleagues. One of them created a fake email ID in my name to trouble her. She even threatened to commit suicide if I remained close to the widow. They harassed me for a year, taunting me, sending me gifts and letters in the name of the widow colleague. They also dared me to prove my manhood to them. After I complained to the HR, they were counselled and the woman who led the others against me was asked to resign.”
Vinod Joshi (31), who works as a project manager with a Yerawada-based IT company said, “I am married and have a two-year-old son. After attending a company-organised picnic with me, a junior woman colleague started sending me greetings on my official email ID. I initially ignored it, but she started calling me and sending gifts to office and home. She even reached my home once and created a scene, besides hacking my emails and sending lewd messages. The HR department initially laughed off my complaint, but later warned her when I provided the proof. I approached the HR again when the harassment continued only to be informed that action has been taken against her.”

The case of revenue department official Bharat Kulkarni (35) is no different. He said, “A senior woman officer would make me purchase clothes, and other items for her, besides showing me sexually explicit images in her cabin. She would also grope me when I would go to get her signature on documents. When I protested, she threatened to file a molestation case. I approached the police but they asked me to remain silent. Now I have sought transfer to another city but the memories are still scary.”
James D’souza, a PhD student from a reputed university said, “A woman professor, harassed me for two years. She extracted Rs1 lakh from me and sent threatening SMSes saying she would discontinue to be my guide if I don’t allow her to kiss me. She also asked me to spend a night with her. Frustrated, I stopped visiting her and my doctorate is still pending.”
Atit Rajpara, a volunteer who attends the helpline, said “Our study shows that around 55% male employees face sexual harassment at workplace in major cities. Most of the calls are received late evenings or early mornings. We guide them to approach the management with evidence.”
MRA spokesperson Sandesh Chopadekar said, “We oppose the sexual harassment of women at workplace bill, as we want a gender neutral law. Our survey reveals that many top Indian companies have internal gender neutral sexual harassment at workplace policy. The current law doesn’t protect male employees.” d_chaitraly@dnaindia.net
(All names have been changed to protect identity)

Published Date:  Dec 04, 2012

 

Categories: News, SHWB Tags: , ,
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