On 9th July 2018, Naina Jha conducted an awareness workshop about the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act for 25 girls of Standard 10 of St. Louis School, Patna.
The workshop covered aspects of gender, sex, gender biases and stereotypes and how these affect the way we look at the world and our relations with one another. Lack of understanding of these concepts as well inability to express one’s feelings appropriately results in sexual harassment. She explained the different types of harassment, the law, sections of the Indian Penal Code relevant to workplace harassment, how to file an FIR as well as their legal rights as individuals.
When asked to share their own stories, Naina uncovered a mine. At a young age of 15 and 16, some of the girls had experienced commenting and stalking sometimes by their own classmates. Some girls admitted that they did not have the courage to fight back, or report, or even tell their family about harassment they had faced for fear of being blamed or that they wouldn’t be allowed to go out anymore in order to stay ‘safe’. One even shared how she was harassed by a family member. Sadly, though she complained nothing was done to intervene or prevent it. One of the girls, a true superhero, reportedly slapped a boy because he kept commenting about her body on a regular basis.
When the workshop came to an end, most of the students declared that they would speak up against perpetrators. They said, “We are NOT weak. You CANNOT harass us whenever you want!.”