Assam’s 41% working women sexually harassed at work: Report

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The sensitive issue of women facing sexual harassment in workplaces has become a common news nowadays. However, most of the women, who have fallen prey such atrocities, chose not to speak about it thinking it would malign their image in the society.

Shocking results have come to light in a report, which provides proof of Assam’s women facing sexual harassment from their co-workers or seniors in government or private places of work.

In a joint research report presented by Northeast Network – a women’s rights organisation and Gauhati University (GU) facts and figures have been published suggesting that 41% of women in Assam have been victims of sexual harassment in work places.

The confidential statistics have surfaced in a research carried out in the light of security and dignity of women in workplaces, under the aegis of GU’s Department of Women’s Studies and Northeast Network. The survey was carried out in the state’s seven zones taking into account more than five hundred working women.

Significantly, the report has also unveiled the fact that more than 50% of the working women are unaware of the Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013.

Although 41% have agreed on being sexually harassed in one way or the other at work places, 59% have also informed that they have never encountered such incidents in their professional spaces, said the report, adding, some of the women have confessed that despite getting undesired signals from male co-workers, they had taken it casually.

According to the survey, out of the women who have accepted of being a victim of sexual harassment, 44.2% have been physically molested by their male co-workers, while 29% have been victim of verbal harassment, 21.5% psychologically harassed and 5.3% women have been sexually harassed in various other ways.

The serious matter of concern here is that 1.41% of women have admitted that they were forced to indulge in a physical relationship by their male colleagues.

Out of those women who have been victims of physical sexual harassment, 59.3% have admitted of being undesirably touched, while 15.2% have admitted that their male co-workers intentionally touch them, hug them, or have sexually tortured them.

On the other hand, out of those who had admitted of being psychologically harassed, 35.7% have stated they came across obscene remarks, while 32.7% have fallen prey to their colleague’s vulgar signals.

The report also states that out of those women who have been verbally harassed, 67% were harassed with jokes, 23% with various other comments and 9% with topics on personal issues.

The survey which engulfed working women of various government-non government organistions in Guwahati, Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Tezpur, Dibrugarh, Diphu and Silchar, has also put forth that although 51.8% women are familiar with the Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013, only 38.1% are fully aware of what the act is and what it’s applications are.

It may be noted that 68.9% working spaces do not have any facility of lodging complaints against sexual harassment.

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