Caller: I work in an MNC. I’ve been facing some problems with my new boss. He makes rude jokes with my male colleagues in my presence. It’s become an everyday affair since the past month. I don't know what to do. I feel very uncomfortable and out of place there, and I’ve started resenting going to work.
Counsellor: Jokes of an inappropriate nature construe harassment. Your work environment must make you feel uncomfortable and it’s only natural for it to affect both your work and your mood. Do not ignore such behaviour or let it pass. Every company has an HR policy regarding any kind of harassment. It would be a good idea for you to approach your HR and file a complaint.
Caller: I have been dating someone for the past two years now. The guy is extremely jealous and possessive and I cannot seem to tolerate his behaviour. I want to get out of this relationship. However, every time I try to talk to him about it; he threatens to harm me and my family. I don’t know what to do.
Counsellor: I can imagine your feelings of helplessness. Staying in this relationship might not be a good idea has it can lead to serious complications in the future. You need to figure out whether this boy is actually capable of causing harm to you and your family. Make an effort to have a calm conversation with him and try to reason with him. If it’s not possible, try to speak to your family members. I know this will be hard for you however; you must make them aware of this situation without further delay. But do not compromise on yourself and seeking counselling can also be of great help.
Caller: I’ve been getting continuous calls from an unknown number for the past two weeks. The man at the other end would say vulgar things. I tried shouting and threatened to report him to the police, but he hasn’t stopped. This highly distressed me and I somewhat began fearing stepping outside. I need to know how I can handle this in future.
Counsellor: I can completely understand your fear of stepping out of your house. Receiving such calls can be quite disturbing. In future, don’t take the call. Do not shout or engage in any conversation. Try blocking such numbers and ask for support from your family members. In case the problem still persists, contact the Crime against Women Cell to ensure your safety.
Caller: On my way to college, there’s a middle-aged man who passes lewd comments. The comments themselves don’t bother me much, but the fact that this man is probably even older than my dad is really disgusting. It’s affected the way I relate to men in general.
Counsellor: I can absolutely understand how this would make you feel. If I were to place myself in the situation I too would feel the same. It simply is a reflection of the way things have shaped up in our society. It is important that you share what has been happening with someone in your family and try and seek help. Such things if left unchecked can escalate into something much worse. At the same time it is also important that you try and keep in mind that all people are not the same. It is understandable that it is affecting how you view men but it is important that you do not form strong stereotypes in your mind as that would start impacting all your relationships, both in the present and the future.
Caller: I travel by bus every day and am subjected to physical assault very often. I feel helpless at that time and don’t know what to say or do. It disturbs me. What can I do to avoid such situations?
Counsellor: It’s natural to feel numb or helpless at that moment. Many girls find it hard to stand up for themselves as they fear being embarrassed and want to avoid further complications. As much as possible, stay in the front part of the bus surrounded by other women. If the problem worsens and you feel the situation going out of hand, you must lodge a complaint or speak to a woman constable. Speaking to a Women’s Rights NGO is also a good option to ensure your safety.
Caller: I'm a domestic help in a family of five members. The driver who works in the same house misbehaves with me and passes rude comments. I don’t feel safe working anymore but I can't quit my job as I need to support my family.
Counsellor: It takes a lot of strength to speak out about this. I can imagine that you may be feeling helpless and confused. If you ignore the situation, things might get worse. It’s important for you to talk to your employers about it. Approach any member of the family whom you’re comfortable with and tell them what’s been happening and do not feel pressure to compromise.
Caller: I’ve been married for a year now and all seemed fine in the first few months. After some time, however, my mother-in-law’s attitude towards me started changing. She started taunting and saying rude things to me for no reason. Soon enough, she demanded money from my father. Already, some money was given as dowry however, but she keeps harassing me for more. She has been threatening me and my husband doesn’t seem to care.
Counsellor: It takes a lot of courage to talk about such an issue. I can understand what you must be going through at home. You must try to speak to your husband about this or speak to somebody who can offer some support. Asking for dowry is illegal and it must be reported before the situation worsens for you at home. Speak to your parents and family and get their support in case any action needs to be taken.