Standing with the victims of sexual harassment

I wish to congratulate the CC of the CGPI on the fearless stand it has taken in the form of the Statement dated 20-10-2018 and carried in the Nov. issue of MEL entitled `Let us stand with the victims of sexual harassment.’  There has been some confusion being created in the minds of the common people by stating that complaints have only come forward from `entitled’ women and women who are themselves of privilege, as if any crime committed against such women is any less gruesome, even assuming that such ridiculous charges are true. 

I wish to congratulate the CC of the CGPI on the fearless stand it has taken in the form of the Statement dated 20-10-2018 and carried in the Nov. issue of MEL entitled `Let us stand with the victims of sexual harassment.’  There has been some confusion being created in the minds of the common people by stating that complaints have only come forward from `entitled’ women and women who are themselves of privilege, as if any crime committed against such women is any less gruesome, even assuming that such ridiculous charges are true. 

The fact of the matter is that with the advancing of capitalism in the country in the last several decades, millions of women have joined the work force from the lowest to the highest ranks of the economy.  For a woman who has experienced trauma of being preyed upon, whether it is today or several years ago, in order for her to come forward and relive it and to face hostile reactions, and other kinds of stigma is a very brave and principled one. Such women deserve respect, sympathy and support. 

The fact that women are biologically weaker than their male counterparts, being smaller and lighter and therefore require special dispensation under law is as old as human history and has been reflected in all civilizations. As history evolves and economies change, these laws and the protection provided to women also need to keep pace.  What one has seen world over and in India is that impunity with which powerful men roam around with no fear that the law will catch up with them.  The struggles of women continue in the face of such odds and must be supported. 

What is prevalent world over is a terrible man eating system which is late capitalism that rides rough over everyone’s rights, and women are no exception.  Capitalism itself requires the super-exploitation of labour, and this can take many different forms, including that of sexual exploitation of women at the work place.  In India there are laws on the books which are primarily toothless. What is required is sharpening of the laws and accountability of employers to protect women. The struggle for this goes hand in hand with the struggle for the rights of all, including those of workers of all genders. 

Let us all united to face the challenge.

Sincerely, S. Nair, Kochi

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