Friday, September 10, 2010

Sexual abuse and power display – Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill be made GENDER NEUTRAL- DEMANDING NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MEN

Sexual abuse and power display – Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill be made GENDER NEUTRAL- DEMANDING NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MEN

You can speak about the condition of a nation by knowing the status of its womenfolk," Jawaharlal Nehru said this decades ago and fashion designer Ritu Beri quoted him at the launch of the serial "Kali – Ek Agnipariksha."

She added, "This way we (India) have a long way to go." The serial deals with the sexual harassment of women, an issue which can alone bring known faces – Renuka Chowdhury, Indira Jaisingh, Madhu Trehan, Ritu Beri, Dilip Cherian, Ranjan Kumari, Sundari Subramanyam Pujari, CA Sundaram – to one platform.

The jury debated the need to understand the reasons for cases of sexual harassment and the immediate need to put an end to it. While Madhu Trehan appealed for a change in the stereotypical upbringing of girls and boys in India,

Renuka's comment "Not all men are bad," served as a breather. On a serious note, Madhu said, "We have a National Commission for Women but there should also be a National Commission for men and parents to address the root cause for such a social evil. Parents should be taught to not adhere to the conventional idea – "Son, you are special!". it is important for men to learn to respect women."

According to Madhu, education alone can bring this much-needed change,
"When I had gone to watch " Bandit Queen" there was a scene in which Phoolan is gangraped. I was shocked but a group of people seated in the front row, which is usually not that expensive, cheered. And later when Phoolan kills her molestors, I heard people seated behind cheering her for her courage. It has nothing to do with money but education." But CA Sundaram wasn't much convinced. He said, "About 20 years back there were neither many educated people nor several harassment cases.

However, two decades down the line, there has been a spurt in the number of educated people and harassment cases." While everybody was trying to find out the rea son and ways to fight the social evil, Ashutosh Rana said, "Sexual harassment has nothing to do with gender bias. It is about display of power. When a man acquires muscle, money and education power, he thinks he owns what he likes. That is when physical assault is interpreted as glory! It's like 'Mujhe car achchi lagi and I should have it in my backyard, mujhe bangla achcha laga and it should be mine. similarly koi ladki achchi lagi toh mere paas honi chahiye," he said.

On being asked if stereotypical notions also exist in the fashion industry, Ritu said, "As someone who has been in the industry, I must say there are no gender biases. In fact we have men complaining of being harassed. All I can say is that it is all about education. It's a social disease. I think, all naughty boys should have daughters so that they know what is it all about."

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