Behind the closed cubicles

The four letter word

The daughter asks the mother, what is sex ? The mother is glad, the question has finally come. She takes the opportunity for a lengthy  explanation. Mom, the girl interrupts, what do I write in this form , which says, name, age, sex.

An adult fills a form and writes “occasionally” against the column, sex.

Sex being a taboo topic, why cannot we have the word ‘gender” in these forms ?

And why is Sex such a ‘ learn it yourself” subject ? It is a sacred act for creation, we celebrate a pregnancy and birth and consider it a sin to talk about the process.

As a kid we learn  about all our body parts, head, eyes, nose, hands, stomach, legs and some code or silly name for the penis or vagina. Why ?

We grow up with distorted knowledge and thoughts about the subject which influences the behaviour of humans in the society.

There is lot of protest when some one suggests sex education in schools. Sex is not just fornication, it is a subject that can be taught chapter wise at different stages in life

Every body needs sex in life, it needs respect.

As grown ups we should not forget what we learnt as kids like pussy means a cat, bitch is a female dog, dick is a name of a cartoon film, nuts are fruits, ass is an animal, cock is a male bird, ball is a round toy, lubricant is an oil and oral is poetry recitation.

The unhealthy approach and learning creates rapists and sexual harassers in the society.

Sex is not a four letter word, it has just three.

Behind closed cubicles

I was a member of an independent committee for prevention of sexual harassment  as a fact finder, in a reputed company. Once  people had the freedom to complain their grievance, under strict confidentiality, lots of them surfaced. Until then the cases were handled by the manager and the HR, which eventually used to end up, hushed , with the fear of reputation losses and hassles. Most of them were genuine, a few were imaginations and  one of them, revenge.

In  Viji Hari’s book, BCC, Behind Closed Cubicles, She says Workplace Sexual harassment is a behaviour defined as unwelcome and sexual in nature. It is a subjective experience (varying for every individual) and it is the IMPACT and not the INTENT that make it an offence

Vice chancellors, judges,Doctors, CEOs, campus hires, personnel at all levels and ranks across the industries and institutions , from factories, to hospitals to  ITs  to courts to colleges have appeared in the list of harassers. Viji explains different situations, each chapter covers a unique case, showing the intent and impact.

The book made me look back into  the situations I have been to help others with good intention, I dread, what if one of them was misinterpreted. Please read the book and you will recognise all of us are walking on a thin rope with good intentions unaware of the impact, till it happens.

BCC is good hand book and a guide for the employees, employers and the management to bring about awareness of the rights and policies on workplace sexual harassment.

Her advise to :

Employees

Beware of your rights and company policies. Victims are not at fault and need not be afraid to speak up

Employers, Management

As per the Act, the employer needs to have a policy, create awareness among employees and create a complaints committee to handle employee complaints.

HR

Know your rights and  how to handle each situations smartly

Having a strong 3rd party external NGO members,  help the organisation avoid an embarrassing situation of the event blowing up and going out to the media

Word, gesture or act intended to insult the mockery of any woman is a punishable offense, fine or jail.

A training to all participants at the time of joining, as  a preventive measure.

On 9th December, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013   was introduced by Supreme Court.

Companies should comply with the act, introduce the policies and make it mandatory every one in the organisation is aware of them

I recommend this book, like me you will read it in one sitting. Log in to Amazon.com, get it, read it, it is a good one for keeps.bcc_cover

Published by:

rajmenon

Grateful for the love and respect received so far. Inspire, motivate and enable anybody to achieve their limitless limits-that is my goal for the rest of my life. Cofounder KelpHR, kelphr.com

Categories Uncategorized9 Comments

9 thoughts on “Behind the closed cubicles”

  1. A good social problem well explained. Heard simillar stories my women subordinates when joined a engg col after retirement..not from students but from male collegues…

  2. Feel so blessed and energised when so many friends, strangers, acquaintances have been sharing and pouring their positive feedback. Taking their time and effort to buy my book. Not just read it but going that extra step to share that long feedback. Feels so good and definitely a much needed affirmation required for a first time author.

    Thank you Menon for taking your time, effort and the trust in me. Especially comments from you, a seasoned blogger. I will cherish and treasure this for ever.

  3. On 9th December, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was introduced by Supreme Court.
    ————————————–

    Hello Menon Sir, Greetings. Its good and very informative article. I take the liberty to point out a technical error and hope its fine with you,

    The article mentions that the Supreme Court has introduced this Sexual harassment act. However, the Courts’ cannot enact a law as its the privilege of the Parliament. As per the Separation of Powers, its the duty of the parliament to enact and Courts to interpret laws based on the intention of the law makers..

    However, the Courts judgments become Laws. The Vishaka Judgement (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishakha_and_others_v_State_of_Rajasthan) is the base for the GUIDELINES (not law) by Supreme Court on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace.

    Later, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) BILL was passed by the Lok Sabha on 3 September 2012 and the Rajya Sabha on 26 February 2013. It received the assent of the President of India and was published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part-II, Section-1, dated 23 April 2013 .

    Hence, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 came to existence.

  4. The mechanism mandated by the law applies when a crime has been committed. What about prevention? The women who work in a workplace would together know of those (presumably few) in their office who age oglers or those who make advances or worse act on them. Shouldn’t the women have an informal meeting once in a while to discuss their experiences so that there is awareness about the rotten eggs among them so that all are forewarned? Shouldn’t the HR be aware of such a ‘potential suspect’ list which can help should the matter advance later to an actual complaint? If multiple women feel a man is lecherous then HR needs to act and confront the man with a warning.

    From among the comments on this blogpost, the professor’s policy of keeping the door open is highly recommended. As with any employee, women members of a team may need to be pulled up for work deficiencies. A whole set of shades can creep into such an act. Assuming that a woman is rightly being pulled up, the act of talking to her must be in relatively open manner (without anyone hearing the actual conversation) rather than behind closed doors for sake of privacy. Having HR presence in some of these events can also help.

    1. Every company can have an emodule of the policies on the subject and make it mandatory for all the employees at to go through them and clear a test of their understanding. This should be mandatory.

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