Workplace harassment is not unheard of. Women often face sexual overtures from their male colleagues in professional space. And hence, the government has mandated organisations to have a Sexual Harassment Policy to safeguard their rights and dignity.
If the woman is disabled in any way, her vulnerability is amplified. 25-year-old Priyanka (name changed) is totally blind and works as a Probationary Officer in a Bank in Maharashtra. Despite her vision impairment, Priyanka aspired to become physically and financially independent.
She lives alone in a rented accommodation, away from her family in Amravati. For the past few months, a boy continuously stalked her in the office building and on her way home. Uncomfortable with his repeated requests to befriend her, she pleaded him to stop pursuing her. But he was insistent. She tried to identify the boy with the help of the security guards and some colleagues but no one helped her.
Scared, she complained verbally to her Regional Manager but they declined to act stating that no physical harm was done to her as yet. Helpless and hopeless, she unburdened her fears to a friend who directed her to the Eyeway helpline.
Our counselor boosted her confidence and asked her not to panic, advising her to handle the situation in a strategic manner. Eyeway suggested her to file written complaints to the Head Office of her bank, the Regional Manager as well as the Women’s Cell from her official email id. In such matters, a written record becomes hard for the authorities to ignore. Furthermore, the counselor asked her to file a police complaint as a non-cognizable offense.
As soon as her stalker learned about these steps, he backed off, apologizing to her. In addition, her management took action and issued an official statement that her security was entirely the bank’s responsibility.
Priyanka felt vindicated and thanked Eyeway for understanding her problem, and apprising her of the appropriate grievance redressal. It’s important to empower visually impaired women so that they are aware of their rights and cannot be bullied into silence.