Titas Ghosh is the Program and Outreach Officer at Delhi. She is a Political Science graduate who completed her Masters in Women’s Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She gained experience working for a feminist organisation in Mumbai, as part of her Masters’ course-related fieldwork, that works with self-help groups in communities. Apart from this, she wrote her Masters dissertation on the lived experiences of women with breast cancer.
Young Minds, Grown-Up Discussions
“On Wednesday, 8th August, 2018, I conducted an awareness workshop about sexual harassment at the Institute of Home Economics for around 50 students who were girls studying in their second and third year of graduation.
I began the workshop with the help of a few case studies of workplace sexual harassment and asked the students to relate the case studies with each other. I asked them to talk about their own ideas about sexual harassment, to get a sense of their knowledge about the issue. We discussed gender biases and stereotypes through activities involving the students trying to identify the stereotypes that we have all been conditioned to believe in ever since our childhood. We talked about their understanding of why sexual harassment happens, and how it is integrally related to the gender biases, and the gender and sexual norms that the society makes us conform to; that sexual harassment does not occur in isolation but is a part of a systemic culture of violence and oppression of the minority genders. It starts with the pressure to conform to the gender and sexual norms, normalisation of sexual assaults, leading to the degradation of women and other genders which finally perpetuates into violent forms of sexual harassment.
Post this, we looked at the different kinds of sexual harassment that are recognized under the Indian Penal Code. A lot of them were not aware of eve-teasing or catcalls or stalking being recognized by the law as a criminal offence. Furthermore, we talked about the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and its functions and responsibilities to make the students aware of their right to complain about any incident of sexual harassment that they might experience on the college campus. Towards the end of the workshop the students shared their own ideas on how to fight sexual harassment. Most of them came up with ideas to fight sexual harassment at an institutional level, but few of them talked about how it needs to be dealt with at a systemic level as well, in terms of changing mindsets and behaviours to do away with the stereotypes and biases that create a culture of harassment.