In the face of harassment

Dr Kedar Padte

“I think Mr Burett from the lab technician group is harassing me, do you think I should report to the professor?” asked Secksneveika.

Boisterina asked why she thought that. “He brushes himself against me unnecessarily,” said Secks. Even if there is enough space between two tables, he acts as if the space is less and leans over.

Professor Teachmemore who was at the next table in the canteen interjected “It amounts to sexual assault if you ask me. I would report Mr Burett to the the principal if I were in your situation.”

Boisterina went on to say “Sir, this is his way with all the girls in the class. Could you explain?”

Professor Teachmemore grumbled and then said: “Look, let me be more explicit. Sexual harassment does not mean rape. Rape is the extreme form. There are various types of sexual assault such as…”


l Refering to an adult as a girl, hulk, doll, babe or honey.

l Whistling at someone, cat calls.

l Making sexual comments about a person’s body.

l Making sexual comments.

l Turning work discussions to sexual topics.

l Telling sexual jokes or stories.

l Asking personal questions about social or sexual life.

l Making kissing sounds, howling and smacking lips.

l Making sexual comments about person’s clothing or looks.

l Repeatedly asking out a person who is not interested.

l Telling lies or spreading rumours about person’s personal sex life.

Non verbal

l Looking a person up and down.

l Staring at someone.

l Blocking a person’s path

l Following the person.

l Giving personal gifts.

l Displaying sexually suggestive visuals.

l Making sexual gestures with hand or through body movements.

l Making facial expressions such as winking, throwing kisses or licking lips.


l Touching the person’s clothing, hair or body.

l Hugging, kissing, patting or stroking.

l Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person.

l Standing close or brushing up against another person.


l Electronically sending messages with sexual content, including pictures and video.

l The use of sexually explicit language, harassment, cyber stalking and threats via (email, text/pictures/video messages).

One has to save one sell from such harassment such as:

l Direct Approach

l Indirect Approach

l Third Party

l Chain of command

l File a formal

Direct approach: Confront the harasser and tell him/her that the behaviour is not appreciated.

Indirect approach: Send a letter to the harasser stating the facts, personal felling about the inappropriate behaviour and possible resolution.

Third Party: Request assistance from another person.

Chain of Command: Report the behaviour to an immediate supervisor or other in chain of command.

File a formal complaint: Take action to formally file a complaint, provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace, and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment.

Section 294 of IPC: Does any obscene act in any public place or (b) sings, recites and utters any obscene songs, ballads or words, in or near any public space.

Punishment: 3 months, or with fine, or both

Section 354 of IPC: Force on any woman, intending to outrage her modesty or knowing it likely that he will thereby outrange the modesty.

Punishment: Imprisonment for term which may extend to 2 yeras, or with fine or both.

Section 509 of IPC: Insult and Annoyance

Punishment: Simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to 1 year or with fine or both.

“You mean sex harassment is gender based?” asked Secks to which professor said not all.

Almost 20 per cent of all assaults are against females. Academically, even teachers in higher positions can ask for sexual favours in return for marks, thesis and what have you.

“Hey everyone, may I bring a friend of mine for coffee tomorrow?” asked Professor Teachmemore. Everyone responded with a resounding “Sure sir”.

The next morning Professor Teachmemore walked in with Mr Burett and there was a loud silence. “My sincere apologies to every student who may have felt offended with me, however I have no ill intentions. I will make sure that I keep sufficient space between myself and any student from now,” said Mr Burett and blushed.

I have known Mr Burett to be the most efficient lab technician for two decades and thought he should know, said Professor Teachmemore.

The students got the message and so did everyone else… It’s important to respect and have good will for everyone.

(Columnist is a well-known gynaecologist practising in Panaji. Send in your queries to padte.kedar@gmail.com)

Categories: Kurio City
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