Monday, March 22, 2010

Gender neutral sexual harassment bill is welcome step

They were buddies at the call centre they worked in. Rohit and Shalini would often party together or go out for a drink as a twosome. But gradually, Rohit started feeling uncomfortable. It seemed that Shalini had other thoughts about their platonic relationship.

One day, Shalini — who is married and has a nine-year-old son — moved to the desk right next to Rohit. Rohit, who is also married, would find her gazing at him between calls. She would brush against him when she passed by.

“Even now, she makes no bones about wanting to sleep with me; she says she’ll book a hotel for the occasion if I agree,” says Rohit, adding that the struggle to stay away from Shalini is taking its toll on him. It worries him that at the call centre in Malad, the two are the daily staple of office gossip.

Does the above scenario seem impossible.  Yet the feminists would have you believe that sexual harassment laws should be made only to benefit women! 


The Bill, which is touted as being gender neutral, proposes the introduction of a new section — 376 (E) — to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, on unlawful sexual acts. “Whoever touches directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of another person (not being the spouse of such person), with sexual intent and without the consent of such other person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both,” it says.

The Bill does not specify the sex of the victim. So in effect a man can accuse a woman — or another man — of sexual abuse. But ironically, the Bill has its seeds in the 172nd report of the Law Commission of India, and recommendations drafted by women’s groups around the country, spearheaded by the National Commission for Women (NCW).

When women’s groups lobbied for a stronger law they did not have gender neutrality in mind. They merely wanted to tighten laws on sexual assault. Men who touched women with sexual intent and without consent had to be punished, they said.

Hmmm.. they did not believe that there could be men rights advocates who will fight for laws to be made gender neutral.  Wake up feminists!  Men’s team has shown up in the match, so now you got to make effort, make your play, and only then you can hope to win.

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