Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Forget it: Is that so Easy?

‘Hey, why aren’t you getting married?’ most often I come across this question. And more often the reply doesn’t satisfy the enquirer!!

It’s my life; don’t I have the freedom to choose it according the way I prefer?

Actually, this is not the subject of this article; this notion of ‘staying single’ in fact gives you more headache than you have ever imagined: grown-up singles often become the victim of ‘Office Romance’ or in a bitter way SEXUAL HARASSMENT! (Though I am aware that married women aren’t in a better position)

My best friend knows a person (or should I say used to know a person) who is in a commanding position. His single phone-call can assemble at least 5-people at one go at his place. He is highly qualified, employed in a place where people always want to be in, one of the biggest brands of India which has a global affiliation. My friend has a very good friendly term with that man.

Everything was pretty good. In a workplace where people often get confused between who-is-a-colleague and who-is-a-friend, this man’s friendly gesture, down-to-earth attitude made my friend good. Once she has told, ‘He is such a big name here, still so friendly, I RESPECT him a lot!’

But one fine morning I got a phone call from her, who I usually find in a jovial mood. That day her voice alarmed me, she was nearly inaudible and shared something with me which I couldn’t even think of in my nightmares.

Let me share her experience on her own words:

“I am a girl who is very open minded, unorthodox, friendly. But I have certain value which I can never compromise with. I am a very soft-spoken, emotional girl who at the same time is too much helpful and often finds herself as a use and throw object. Simply because, I cannot pretend and not at all politically correct, so people always get to know my true self and use it for their own benefit .

I was no different with this man. Very often we used to chat on several issues, but what I found is that, that man always want to shift the focus on romance, women body, need for love-making, even one night stand! I gradually felt he is not my friend, but just want to avail the opportunity of my singleton! (Oh, I must remind you this middle aged man is married with a kid!). I tried hard to dissociate myself once I understood the real intention behind his friendly gesture.

But everything was not in my control especially if you are low in the hierarchy. One day he made some physical advancement and I was in a helpless situation. He actually tried to ‘hug’ me and had held my hands very tightly. He even touched my shoulder with his lips. After that I made a friendly departure (In that situation I have to maintain my cool as any gesture from me could lead to more danger…)

May be, to some this is pretty natural in today’s world, but to me it was a shock…”

No, the story doesn’t end here. My traumatized friend, the very next day told this incident to one of her senior colleagues, who is trustworthy. Though, that colleague didn’t want to believe and gradually my friend has realized that he didn’t actually believe. He tried to make the incident light by calling it ‘to human is to err!’ Atleast 20 times he asked my friend whether the ‘touch’ was to ‘comfort her’ and probably she was misunderstanding the situation! After knowing the minute details of that fateful day, his suggestion was great ‘forget it!!’

You can ask why my friend didn’t go the cell. Because her indirect experience of Harassment Cell stopped her from doing that. Each time a case has gone to the legal body, the victim has to resign! The accused always set free. She cannot afford to lose the job now!!

But is this the nature of the protection in the workplace? If she is saying no to office romance, her promotion is hold back, if she is harassed by senior colleagues or boss, instead of questioning the accused, the victim has been questioned. Amendment of existing law on Sexual Harassment will not yield any result if the men themselves don’t change their attitude.

If any lady believes that ‘body is the carrier of intellect and knowledge and nothing to do with beauty” that must be respected by male colleagues. They must not force her to believe in the other way around!

I have a question: When can we actually get an actual society, where Davidars will be defeated? And his new mantra for all the perverts of the world ‘Consensual flirtatious relationship’ will be regarded as most nasty comments?

PS: My friend is yet to ‘forget’ her experience. It is told ‘don’t lose faith on human beings, that is a sin’. But who should we believe?

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