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Posted at: Apr 14, 2018, 12:55 AM; last updated: Apr 14, 2018, 12:55 AM (IST)GIRLS@GUPSHUP ARADHIKA SHARMA

Anti-Juliet squads?

Anti-Juliet squads?
ILLUSTRATION BY SANDEEP JOSHI
We had planned that everyone would get a variety of chaat for lunch. So, on offer were spicy dahi-bhalla, bhelpuri, papri-chaat and jal jeera. Then Sabrina initiated chat over the chaat.

Sabrina: Girls, listen, did you hear about that Rohan guy in IT?

Mandy: That short, fair one who joined a few months ago? What about him?

Sabrina: Well, apparently, he had to quit his previous company even though his salary there was much better because he was sexually harassed by a woman colleague.

Me: Really? It’s usually the other way round! What happened?

Sabrina: It seems that it started with him getting anonymous text messages from a woman, which he says he ignored, and then she started calling him and making indecent proposals to him at odd hours.

Shobha: Then what did he do?

Sabrina: At first, he just suffered in silence and then he managed to locate the number. Turned out it was a senior employee in the office, who was usually very sweet to him. Once she came to know that he had guessed who it was, instead of backing off, her advances became all the more aggressive. She would call him to her office with ‘IT issues’ and make offensive sexual comments and jokes. She even started sending flowers and cards to his house.

Me: What a situation!  Is Rohan married?

Sabrina: Engaged! His fiancé started getting pretty uptight about the weird calls and gifts and, naturally, there was trouble in paradise.

Shobha: I guess no one believes men when they say that they are being harassed. In fact, most fellows would think he’s a lucky guy! So did he report her?

Sabrina: Seems he decided it was easier to leave. He was afraid that if the woman had said that he was the one harassing her, she would be believed and he would be shamed.

Me: Men don’t usually report cases of harassment. They think they should be mards and they’re supposed to enjoy attention from women even if they didn’t invite it. And if they report that they’re harassed by another man, they think it casts doubts on their own sexuality.  

Mandy: It’s assumed that all men would welcome, or even enjoy, sexual attention even though it’s actually just harassment.

Shobha: No one wants to be the shikaar of a predator! Plus, there’s no legislation or HR policy that’s gender neutral in that sense.

Shobha: Speaking of which, do you realise how few men have come out and spoken in the #MeToo” movement? Sexual harassment at work is common enough but hardly any men have spoken about their day-to-day experiences.

Mandy: Actually, if some of the incidents that men tell of were to happen to women, the result would be instant dismissal.

Sabrina: No wonder some people are clamouring for anti-Juliet squads.

Me: Almost has me feeling sorry for the blokes. 

Shobha: Ya! Pass the rasmalai, please.

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