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""VOF Week 2: ( my thoughts and the fight for justice )."

I was working in a public sector autonomous institution in India and was about to quit my job .All though there were strict laws in our country against harassing women in workspace it was not implemented properly .There is also a supreme court guideline which directs the authorities on the action to be taken on receiving a complaint . Months before we were protesting against the public sector authorities who were protecting an officer who had a habit of using sexually colored remarks to women and abusing them verbally. Several women have gave complaints but no action was taken .we had also given petitions to ministers and women’s commission but our effort were in vein . we conducted public meeting and protests . The women’s committee in the institution finally found that he was guilty but the only punishment given by the authorities was a warning. We were insulted and we decided to conducted a public trail using effigy .we also gave case n high court. I thought of taking leave for sometime and meet women who had similar experiences . I met several women we planned to do something. At that time I was searching for some freelancing jobs as visual journalist. I came across awid and and found interested in world pulse. I was happy to see groups were women speak. And I feel every initiation of women is a positive thing. In our country elections are going on and in my state there are only three women candidates. We ask women to boycott elections. Women should group and assert their right. I still remember Bhanwari Devi a lower cast women who fought against the rapist upper cast men. And due to her fight with the help of women’s groups lead to the famous judgment of Supreme Court against the sexual harassment of women in work place. Bhanwari Devi was a village-level social worker a saathin of a development programme run by the State Government of Rajasthan fighting against child marriages. She tried to stop the marriage of a girl who was less than one year old. The police came and prevented the marriage. On September 22, 1992, five upper-caste men raped Bhanwari in the presence of her husband. Initial police investigations said she was too old and unattractive to be raped by young men. Under the pressure of women's groups and civil rights organizations a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was done, which found all the allegations made by Bhanwari to be true. But the court acquitted the five accused of the rape charge, saying the incident could not have taken place because "upper caste men, including a Brahmin, would not rape a woman of a lower caste”. Women’s organizations filed a pettion in the Supreme Court, asking it to give directions regarding sexual harassment at the workplace. On August 13, 1997, Vishaka guidelines were issued which hold employers responsible for providing safe work environment for women. I feel happy to tell the story of Bhanwari Devi and her fight for justice and how I came across the world pulse in desperateness when the same law was not implementing in my office and we women is still fighting for the justice .

Comments

misscarly's picture

VOF Week Two Assignment

Dear Geedha,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience in this essay for Voices of the Future. It's very important to have women share their stories and personal experiences, and also to reveal the difference between the laws that exist and how it is actually implemented.

In the face of such contradiction (between law and reality), it is very encouraging to hear that you and the women around you were relentless in your fight against the officer, that you were not going to give up easily. I wish that other countries, and women, had such persistence in standing up and fighting wrong. Sometimes we give up so easily, after just one defeat. The strength we gather from other women plays a big part in remaining persistent despite defeat.

I wondered how effective boycotting the election would be. If men are trying to diminish the role of women in politics, wouldn't a boycott, in effect, feed into their desire to silence women? I suppose it depends on how it's received by the media. Perhaps more attention would be gained through a protest, yet the end effect of women boycotting an election is that action will be taken without their voice.

Thank you for sharing the story of Bhanwari Devi, which I had not heard before. I hope that this fight for justice can be moved forward through the sharing of experience and the support we lend each other through listening and providing support.

with kindness,
carly diaz

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