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Harassment at work places widespread, say experts

The case of sexual harassment that is in the news currently is not a one-off case, experts maintain.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2013 23:24 IST
Rhythma Kaul

The case of sexual harassment that is in the news currently is not a one-off case, experts maintain.

According to them, the numbers have seen an increase in the past few years as more women have been coming out to work.

“We frequently see cases of sexual harassment at work places, and the number has only been increasing. It may still not be common though,” said Dr Samir Parikh, director of the department of mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare.

According to the mental health experts, one needs to look at a few dimensions when talking about harassment per se as it may not always have a gender context to it.

“Bullying, favouritism and non-favouritism at work place is very much harassment, and one tends to extend it by introducing a power equation, wherein the boss tries to exert power on his or her subordinate,” says Dr Parikh.

Harassment takes on a whole new meaning when one tries to transgress from one level to another while exerting power.

And in most cases, the victim has no other option but to put up with the misconduct as there is not much in terms of help for such victims.“As a society we are not victim-friendly, so obviously there is a fat possibility that the word may not come out, which the perpetrator is well aware of,” said a senior doctor of the department of psychiatry at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

There is no ownership and there is no standing up for each other in circumstances like these. “How many of us can think of getting help if we were in such a situation, as a result majority do not talk about it and keep bearing silently,” added the AIIMS doctor.

The solution, say experts, is that those in powerful positions need to be honest, and look around to see how much exploitation they do or is happening around them.