Sexual Harassment in India

MeToo: Priya Ramani acquitted in defamation case filed by MJ Akbar - The Week

MJ Akbar (left), Priya Ramani (right), Image courtesy of The Week https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2021/02/17/metoo-priya-ramani-acquitted-in-defamation-case-filed-by-mj-akbar.html.

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Earlier this year, an Indian court acquitted journalist, Priya Ramani, in a criminal defamation case by former government minister, MJ Akbar, for accusing him of sexual misconduct [1].

Ramani had alleged in a social media post that she was sexually harassed by Akbar in 1993, when called to a Mumbai hotel for a job interview.  Following Ramani’s allegations, over 20 other women came forward to make similar allegations against Akbar.  As a result, Akbar was forced to step down, though not before he filed suit.

Sexual harassment deprives women of dignity, and confidence in the workplace.

The Indian Supreme Court, in 1997, formulated the Vishaka Guidelines on sexual harassment.  The guidelines became the basis for the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013.

According to the Indian Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, however, nearly 69% of victims fail to report sexual harassment for fear of reprisals.

“In a country where as a woman, the simple act of existing feels like going to war every day, this is huge…”

– Rituparna Chatterjee, workplace safety campaigner

The viability of India’s campaign for workplace safety for women depended on the decision in this case.

But the struggle for equal rights in India is hardly over.  In 2019 there were 24 honor killings reported.  As recently as two months ago Sarvesh Kumar was arrested for beheading his 17 year old daughter [2].  She had been talking to a young man of whom her father did not approve.

[1]  Daily Beast, “I Was a Victim of Sexual Harassment in India, Today I Rejoice” by Nilanjana Bhowmick, 2/18/21, https://www.thedailybeast.com/i-was-a-victim-of-sexual-harassment-in-india-today-i-rejoice?source=articles&via=rss?ref=home.

[2]  CNN, “Father arrested in India for beheading his 17-year-old daughter” by , 3/5/21. https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/05/india/father-beheads-daughter-india-intl-scli/index.html.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

14 Comments

Filed under Abuse of Power, Justice, Law, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women

14 responses to “Sexual Harassment in India

  1. It’s so sad to hear these cases every day. And you are right about that majority of rape victims fail to report sexual harassments due to fear of reprisals.
    Sometimes I feels ashamed that despite every efforts & laws, harassments against women is still in continuation. And my country’s judiciary system is too slow to take any action instantly.
    It’s true that People do come forward to make a change but again it fades with time.

    • You are right to be tired, Ritish. The struggle of good against evil (whatever form it takes) can be exhausting. But we must not lose hope, and we must not give up the fight.

  2. That was so disheartening anna, not only devil-like mi Akbar there are many other people also who are making life under hazard by giving hope of opportunity. Our whole Bollywood under the trap of it and there are many places like tribal areas, where the victim’s voice has never been raised because no one wants to look for them.

  3. It is really heartbreaking to hear about it nearly every day. We must hope that people may change it.

  4. Petrina

    I feel heavy and saddened at the continuation of evil contempt and violence against women. I couldn’t bring myself to click on the story about this so called “father” beheading his daughter for talking with a man he didn’t approve of. Wow. 😢

  5. It’s unbelievable that these things happen even in the 21st century

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