The district collector of Ernakulam on Friday held a review meeting to address the lack of reportage on sexual harassment in the city in the last four years. It is unbelievable that no incident of sexual harassment has taken place in the district since 2013.
“Though a few incidents of workplace harassment were reported in the state’s unorganised sector, proper action could not be taken due to lack of guidelines. Lack of awareness might be one of the factors that prevent victims from lodging complaints. Initially, workshops will be conducted for government employees to sensitise them. In phase-II, awareness classes will be organised for employees of civic bodies,” said collector, K Mohammed Y Safirulla, The New Indian Express reported.
Even after the district administration has formulated a committee to track sexual harassment, there has been no complaint of sexual crimes.
According to the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, a woman can file a report against the offender against cases of mental/physical harassment at the workplace in under 90 days. The law also entails that the government or the company the woman is working in has to abide by the judgment given by the district administration on the case within two months of it being filed. And the company involved can contest the judgment in tribunals or the court concerned in a matter of 90 days.
The prejudice against reporting sexual harassment is so high that women in rural areas fear the social stigma they may face. The district administration’s move is a step in the right direction and will help women come forward to report such crimes.