Punishing Sexual Predators Should be Prioritised to Set Deterrence!

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  • The sense of entitlement pervading the patriarchal mindset in Indian society has not seen many alterations despite efforts to usher in gender equality at various levels. As such, the male dominion in every field is still rampant amid flash in the pan occurrences when a female emerges triumphant fighting against all odds.  Mind you, this occurs not through institutional backing but owing to individual efforts.  Indeed, the society across the globe is yet to offer a level playing field for females is a fact that cannot be argued. And the progress on this front is painfully slow even as concerted efforts to offer parity are at work.
  • That very notion of an all-pervading sense of entitlement amongst men also leads to several instances of sexual harassment cases against women in literally every place is a great cause of concern. We all know how women are subjected to sexual harassment at homes, workplaces, schools, and colleges, on public roads and properties, as well as in recreational facilities.  There is any number of laws promulgated to safeguard the interests of women.  However, these laws will be acted upon only when despicable acts are already perpetrated by sexual predators.  As such, preventing such inhuman acts through fool-proof deterrence is still a work in progress.

PC: Zahid Gishkori

  • For this to fructify on the ground, all stakeholders in the society must contribute with intent and not offer mere lip service. Parents are equally culpable in failing to instill parity right from the beginning between male and female genders.  The differential treatment so widely prevalent must stop.  Amongst several cases that get reported daily, allegations of sexual harassment always top the list.  Recently, the same was leveled by two top women cyclists against a senior coach, as well as complaints by a woman sailor, who hit the headlines recently for the way the authorities went about handling the sensitive matter.
  • Rather than treat the matter with utmost seriousness, the Sports Authority of India is hell-bent on creating more problems with its immature responses. Symptomatic of the larger malaise afflicting the society.  What did the SAI do?  It mandated that all traveling women athletes must be accompanied by women coaches.  This is an extremely unprofessional policy, implying that men and women simply cannot work together in sports training.  It also raises the question of whether there are enough women coaches in the first place.  As problematic is the fact that an SAI internal complaints committee reportedly asked the cyclist who first accused the coach to file an FIR.

PC: Team LawSikho

  • There should be standard internal processes, where the committee follows up with the police, like the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act specifies. Of course, sexual harassment in sports isn’t an Indian problem.  The US, for example, has had many cases, and in some instances celebrated coaches were outed as predators.  Just as in workplaces, the predator works the power hierarchy in his favor in sports training, and young women from low-income families are especially vulnerable.  Sometimes, even being an established athlete doesn’t help either.
  • A cyclist with a good track record alleged she was let go after facing repeated harassment. Thus, exemplary punishment to harassers, following a quick fair inquiry, is the best deterrent.  It is also advisable that SAI and sports federations must not impose rules that are a throwback to times when gender segregation was the norm.  Will society wake up to the menace with intent?  Your guess is as good as mine.

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Krishna MV
Krishna is a Post Graduate with specialization in English Literature and Human Resource Management, respectively. Having served the Indian Air Force with distinction for 16 years, Armed Forces background definitely played a very major role in shaping as to who & what he is right now. Presently, he is employed as The Administrator of a well known educational institute in Bangalore. He is passionate about sharing thoughts by writing articles on the current affairs / topics with insightful dissection and offering counter / alternate views thrown in for good measure. Also, passionate about Cricket, Music – especially vintage Kannada & Hindi film songs, reading – non-fictional & Self-Help Books, and of course, fitness without compromising on the culinary pleasures.