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What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment can be defined as unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The legal definition of sexual harassment includes requests for sexual favours, sexual advances or other sexual conduct when:
1. submission is either explicitly or implicitly a condition affecting academic or employment decisions;
2. the behaviour is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to create an intimidating, hostile or repugnant environment; or
3. the behaviour persists despite objection by the person to whom the conduct is directed.
There are two types of sexual harassment, “quid pro quo” and “hostile environment‘. Quid pro quo means 'this for that'. It occurs when it is stated or implied that an educational or employment decision about a scholar or worker depends upon whether the scholar or worker submits to conduct of a sexual nature. Latter takes place when unwanted conduct of a sexual nature creates an frightening, bullying or abusive working or environment or is so harsh, persistent or invasive that it affects a person‘s ability to participate in any activity.
The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 introduced changes to the Indian Penal Code, making sexual harassment an expressed offence under Section 354 A, which is punishable up to three years of imprisonment and or with fine. Sexual assault can also be prevented by secondary school, college, and workplace education and training programmes about sexual harassment.
Not only government, but everyone should make equal efforts to create a harassment free environment for all.