Tears threatened to fall from her eyes as she could feel the hand of her colleague on her thighs while the presentation was on in the conference room. She tried keeping herself together as she struggled to shake his hand off her without calling for attention of others in the room. What’s the point struggling she thought, no one can see what is going on under the table and even if they did no help will come anyway! she needed the job, only member earning in the family she has to send some amount to her family every month, also who will support her if she quits? so she ignored him and his attempts to seduce her. Relief flooded through her veins as her boss called her to take over the presentation. Pulling on a poker face and coating her voice with confidence Trivedita addressed the people in the conference room. No longer can one see the fear in her eyes or sense the quiver in her voice. Because she was a strong girl who was trained enough than to let such things come in the way of her progress. Little did she know that mere silence is considered as consent!
It was not the first time nor was it the last. The torture increased, he use to corner her whenever he got the chance to. He also started waiting outside her apartment every now and then, calling her late at night, things spread in the office like fire. Their other colleagues started believing that he was in love with her so they teased her with his name. She kept quite through it all fueling the fire. She cried herself to sleep every night pretending that those dark bags under her eyes meant nothing, as she concealed them every morning before she started her day. It’s grilled into every Indian female to never speak up on the topics that are disgracing. Since it is a male dominated society your opinion will be overlooked. Alice Walker said,” The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”. If you pity yourself then people will pity you too. Trivedita should have known that her ignorance is not a bliss it’s a crime, not under the law off course!
Days ticked like the second’s hand of the clock, it has been one month now she sighs as she runs her hands around her face and stares at her reflection in the mirror of her office washroom, realization hits her like ice cold water. She wanted the job but not at the cost of her dignity. Her family needs money but they need her too. As she pictured her father sitting on the chair in the veranda of their house reading the morning newspaper just as usual, he would comment,’ where is this generation headed? and what’s with young girls keeping quiet to injustice against them, in a way they are promoting it!’ Who was she fooling she knew it all along that she was wrong to take it in silence, she should have revolted the first time it happened. She removes her wallet from her bag and as she flips it open she stares at the only thing that kept her going all along, the picture of her parents smiling with the twinkle in their eyes. She clearly remembers the day it was taken on; it was the day she graduated. She closed her eyes and let the tears fall as she whispered,” sorry mom-dad, I failed you. But not anymore, I will fight back, no longer I will mop in self pity. It’s about time that I even out some things so that I can face you all with no guilt and fear in my eyes.”
With newly derived self-confidence and determination she leaves the washroom and walks towards the cabin of that douche bag. Just before she knocks the door she dials her boss’s number and puts the call on recording. Taking a deep breath she opens the door, before he could speak she throws her question at him the one that has been lingering in her mind for very long now,’why Dev?’ baffled for a second he composes himself and that arrogant smirk again consumes his face.” Well I love you too honey, I was wondering if you are done with your ignoring game so that we can talk business.” he says.” I have been trying from day one, have you got ant idea how much those calls, flowers and chocolates have cost me, no you don’t because all you did is throw them in the dustbin and cut my calls. Anyways its all in the past now, I have an offer for you that’s quite tempting for me to say, you sleep with me and I give you the promotion letter that you oh so dearly want, what say? it won’t be a big deal for me since the boss is my father in law.” he concludes. She slaps him hard right across his left cheek and cautions,” Find yourself another job you moron. Because according to the sexual harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 you will be losing it soon.”
The Act makes it mandatory for all offices with 10 or more employees to have an internal complaints committee to address grievances in a stipulated time or face penalty, they might even lose their license. The recording served as a proof in Trivedita’s complaint, she was offered compensation and promotion whereas Dev was kicked out of the organization. Sometimes all one needs to do is step out of the fear of society and act according to what’s right not what seems right.