- Women find the strength to be vocal only when they know that their objections won't be judged.
- Be her hero and stand by her if she needs to take a stand.
- If something happens in front of you, do not hesitate to be the witness and help her get justice.
Safety of women at home or workplace or even on roads is not their responsibility alone. A man can equally be responsible toward her safety and well being. It doesn't take much to show that men also care; just a raised voice and an objection to an awkward situation.
Female activism has its own perils. While many take the women's issues like workplace harassment seriously, there are others who believe that it has become a tool for women who wish to abuse the law made for them to their advantage. Indeed, its true in many cases, but for the genuine ones, there should be a third-party support. Remember, in such a situation, a man can stop a man better. And getting a "NO" from a man not only dislodges an abuser from his intent to harm, but also gives a lot of strength to the victim.
So, here are a few ways you, as a man, can stop sexual harassment at workplace:
Make note: Usually sexual harassment at workplace happens over time. A man being mean sends out signals to everyone, including the victim. Trust your intuitions and stand in the way. Throw hints that such things would not be acceptable in any way and action would be taken if required. Cite instances at your previous office, even if you have to make things up, where action was taken and ensure that the abuser knows that you had a major role to play in it.
Say something at the right time: If something is happening in front of you, raise your voice. Raise an alarm if required and say things like "it's gross" and "it's not ok". The victim immediately gets the will to raise an alarm too and gets rid of the usual feeling "it's my mistake". With you by her side, she gets the courage to feel not ok. It also gives her the power to come to terms with her own feelings.
Do not back off: When time comes, do not hesitate to back a woman if you are sure that the case is genuine. There is no shame in being called a feminist if it is for the right cause. This will make the woman feel empowered and also provide strength to the case.
Write things down: Whatever uncomfortable you see, jot them down on the writing pad, including the date, day and the time. Wait for the woman to react because that will help you support her. Discuss with her what you have observed and ensure that she feels comfortable if you took up the matter to the HR. Help her confide in you.
Let her take charge and you support: Let the victim take charge on her own. Encourage her to speak up and do not lead the way. That way, she would know what to do the next time such things happen. She would also feel empowered rather than feeling victimised. That way you will be mentoring her for the future. Let her take the decisions for herself and if she needs anything, HELP!
Never laugh at offensive jokes: Most often than not, men or women tend to crack sexual jokes that could be offensive for few. Interrupt and say that you are not comfortable about cracking such jokes on women and that you respect their dignity. That immediately sends out a message both to a potential abuser and a target.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:54 PM IST