An open forum on sexual harassment


In the time we’re living in, safety and protection is of utmost importance. Rapes, theft, murder or something as simple as being touched on the train, in the bus or even on the road, are events that are occurring on a much more frequent scale than earlier. Some things we shrug off in disgust, knowing that’s just how humans function. But sometimes the incident stays with us much longer. Whether we do something about it or not, we can’t seem to get it out of our minds. Talking about these things always helps, but most of the time we don’t know who to turn to. Even if we do turn to someone, will they really understand us or is sympathy all we’ll get?

In the midst of such a time, we have four young girls, who have started a forum for people who have faced sexual harassment at any point in their lives. They are students of Wilson’s College, Mumbai and are in their final year of Mass Media. This open forum, called ‘the Circle’ aims to start conversations on abuse and different forms of violent abuse. Asrida Jain, who started this forum with her classmates Nadiya Sehgal, Pooja Nair and Mitali Adhikari, said that the inception of this started when she was having an everyday conversation with her friends and the topic of being stared at, name called and commented at was overlooked and not considered harassment by society. They formed this group so that more youngsters would know that it’s fine to talk about such incidents in a time when its taboo for being to discuss such things and just keep mum about it.   “The forum was born of a need for a platform where no one will judge you, and people can share anything and everything without any fear,” Adrija said.

The group meets every Friday, minus the days when exams are on. They were surprised at the number of people that turned up and spoke about being groped or stared at or knew of such instances at some point in their lives. What was even more surprising was that boys didn’t shy away from attending this forum. This initiative is being taken to other colleges as well.

Equal rights activist Harish Iyer said, “I think that it is a great initiative considering that these students are going to be adults soon. If they know about abuse and are aware of ways to deal with it, there is no better way to make them aware about this”.

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  1. i have read many articles, after reading one point is totally forgotten i find this issue. After a deep thought, over emphasis in controlling and preventing sexual harassment, we knowingly or unknowingly arrest the free & healthy conversation and building relationship between genders(male&female). Because suppressing of Natural call also causes genital health damage(physical) and psychological damage(mental). Because sex part of everyone’s life path. As elders we have educate and train and guide both genders to use this natural tendency in an non affecting way to both genders while they being close, talking, working and behaving with the opposite gender by the way we have create awareness on how it will affect their healthy physical, psychological and social very personal life.
    only physical touch harassment can be punished verbal harassment to be counselled. In fact we have allow and encourage opposite genders to talk in the presence of many people instead of leaving them alone. At the same time, our measures should not totally stops meeting & talking of opposite genders each other. In fact, this builds up the harassment between genders i believe. And if you put this while looking society as a whole, stopping the meeting and talking of opposite genders while taking measure of sexual harassment indirectly, i believe, leads to avoidance of opposite gender, not learning of how to interact with opposite gender, then working & communicating along while they carry out their life duties-work place, public place and in their families too..! Even it may goes to the extreme level of avoiding marriage, living alone life, living together, homosexuality, lesbianism etc. these all totally affects the development of good healthy natural organised accepted safe cherishing humanity long established social institution called ” Marriage and “”Family”” then as Human Community” .

    Life comprises of ‘everything’… As elders we have educate, monitor and guide the genders to use appropriatively and Proportionately for a harmless and healthy life endeavors…instead of Just defining detailing and Punishing..


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