Madras HC Chief Justice Says Sexual Harassment Should Be Dealt With Seriously. Women Shouldn’t Be Blamed For Their Clothes Or Demeanour
If there was to be a show of hands on how many women have faced a situation of sexual harassment, you’d be looking at a room-full of women with both hands up in the air. But if, with the same audience, you were to ask how many of them spoke up about it, you’d be surprised at how many of the women would have chosen to stay mum about their trauma. Reason? Women are often asked to prove the crime or blamed – the systematic breakdown of the society into believing that the woman must have provoked the perpetrator in a way to call it upon herself. A notion that Madras High Court Chief Justice is all set to change.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee of Madras High Court on Tuesday, made strong and notable statements about how unacceptable harassments against women is. Going on to establish that there needs to be zero-tolerance towards any misconduct and harassment against women, he addressed long standing issues that women had been facing for decades.
Accompanied by Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, Chief Justice Banerjee stated that, “we absolutely must have zero tolerance” to instances of sexual harassment, and we found ourselves nodding enthusiastically in agreement. It was about time, after all.
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Difficult for a woman to say she was sexually harassed because society blames her: Madras High Court Chief Justice
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) January 5, 2021
Talking about how important it is to address and investigate the behaviour of a perpetrator in a workplace, even after he gets excused by a woman, Chief Justice Banerjee made some rather strong points on the matter of sexual harassment.
He even touched base on one of the most problematic mindsets of the society where their first instinct towards a case of sexual misconduct is to jump to victim blaming and hold a woman’s demeanour or clothes responsible for the act. He said, “How difficult is it for a woman to say that she has been sexually harassed because we as society immediately points a finger at the woman!”
And we couldn’t agree more with his words. He goes on to say that if there is a possibility or proof that the allegations made by the woman against the perpetrator are in fact true, it should not be tolerated. The fact that women safety and rights were finally being acknowledged with the kind of urgency and importance as such, was in itself a win for all women.