Sexual harassment


Definition of sexual harassment:

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual conduct which makes a person feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated where that reaction is reasonable in the circumstances. Sexual harassment is not sexual interaction, flirtation, attraction, or friendship which is invited, mutual, consensual, or reciprocated.

Sexual harassment is a legally recognized form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment and sex discrimination are both unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act. “It is not enough to focus on the harm to women as well as men as sexual beings, the law must focus on women systematic disadvantages and facilitate equal empowerment to both men and women as creative, Committed workers. We need an account of hostile work environment harassments that highlights its dynamic relation to larger forms of general hierarchy at work”.


  • Suggestive comments or jokes
  • sexually explicit pictures or posters
  • Unwanted invitations to go out on dates
  • Sexual comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy or looks
  • sexually explicit emails or text messages
  • Cyber stalking
  • Online Impersonation
  • Catfishing
  • Doxing
  • Swatting
  • Trolling
  • Revenge Prone


A married 38- year- old employee at a software firm and a mother of two “Anita” faced such kind of harassment. A diligent employee, she did not think twice before putting on some work and sitting in front of the camera for what she thought would be an ordinary, official meeting. As the camera on the other side flickered on, she became aware of two hairy thighs and chest peeping back at her. Her middle-aged boss had decided to show up in just a vest and boxers. Throughout the 15 minutes zoom call, she alleges that her boss remained fidgety and kept touching and rubbing himself in odd places. Despite her company having a POSH POLICY, she says she didn’t find any rules about what constituted as harassment in a virtual setup.

Online sexual harassment:

There are many kinds of online harassment out there from the annoying rude comments made by online trolls to the invasive doxing to the traumatic cyber stalking, threats of violence and everything-in-between.
‘“it is the unwanted sexual conduct on any digital platform and it is recognized as a form of sexual violence”.
online sexual harassment is just as much a crime as in -person sexual harassment. it can still inflict very real suffering and emotional distress on the target. online sexual harassments simply does not involve any face-to-face interactions between the perpetrator and the target. harassing behaviors can appear online on social media sites, forums, emails, messenger systems, etc.

The issue of sexual harassment has always been overlooked in India. While the term sexual harassment is always defined and understood as uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature by a person but at the time of pandemic where everyone is bound to work from home, women are now facing another type of sexual harassment- “Online Sexual Harassment”. Due to nationwide lockdown, all professionals are working from home and women professionals are struggling in managing work-life balance. The problems of cyber-bullying, getting unwarranted video call requests at odd hours online stalking have increased manifold. Apart from these there are many other forms of harassment which comes under online sexual harassment.


Provisions for women or how to deal

As per POSH Act every organization has to set policies on harassment. Women can anonymously report and complain. However, in the absence of POSH committee women can seek for the below options:

Online sexual harassment happens on an electronic platform and as such the Information Technology Act, 2000 [“IT Act”] protection to such harassment is also extended to this Act. As per Section 67 of the IT Act prescribes punitive measures for publishing and/or transmitting obscene content on an electronic platform. Section 67A stipulates punishment for publishing or transmitting material containing any sexually explicit act, in an electronic form.

Cases of online harassment can also attract penal provisions of Sections 354A, 354D or 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. These prescribe punishment for a perpetrator who sexually harasses a woman by stalking her on the internet, and through his words or act or gesture intends to insult the modesty of a woman.

These kinds of harassment are also considered as serious crimes and working women should not stop themselves to report such incidents. It is always advisable to seek help from legal experts or as a last resort, approach local authorities and take legal course of action.

NGOs for Cyber Harassment in India

e- PROTECT FOUNDATION: e-Protect Foundation, Uttarakhand, is the Community for Cyber Crime Prevention and Justice for Women. Generally the State Police department has a specialized unit that handles all complex and sensitive cases of cybercrime including those in which victims are women and children.

CCVC (Centre for Cyber victim counselling) they are a registered (Trust under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, Reg No: 1097/2009), nongovernmental, not for profit organization committed to work for the victims of cyber- crime in India. They do not offer to work as detectives and they are not Cyber Police


It is clearly to be seen that due to uprising of different platforms of social media “we the Women” of weaker sex are seen being mentally and physically tortured due to having access of social media platforms. But my intentions are not meant to oppose the access of online platforms in which it is as same as a coin, which got a two faces having MERIT as well as a darker side DEMERIT.

The result of harassment towards women through online platform is seen to affecting those victim not only emotionally but also the physical and mental well-being of a particular person. According to the research done by the researchers they also claim that there is risk for mental health symptoms increased among youth (especially women) who have gone through cyberbullying or online harassment. Those violence against women including in the online environment can take many forms, CYBERHARASSMENT, REVENGE PORN and threats of RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT or even MURDER in being included in it.

Due to fear of commentaries and perception from an environment they faces, those disseminating rumors from the society they represent and from the family they belong, victims feel stressed out and feels anxious of their life thinking about their own self-esteem and those leads to getting indulge in illegal activities like consumptions of drug, mental health issues, poor performance in studies as well as in their career, a desire to drop out of college, and suicide ideation illicit or prescription, which can all have serious consequences. In a way that, online harassment has been rapidly increasing in this 21st digitalized century it has been damaging consequences to an individuals. As it disrupts life of a schooler, with great emotional damage and may have fatal consequences. Though technology has brought new opportunities for us but one shouldn’t forget to be aware of what one has uploaded.

That is why the victims of online harassment can be seen to be experiencing wide-ranging effects on us the ‘women’.


It is paramount importance to protect the children from online sexual harassment which is prevailing due to advancement of technology and easy availability of smartphones and the internet. Children of this generation are more prone to sexual materials available online. Every other child in India is the victim of sexual harassment. They are also influenced by pornography which provokes or gives them the idea for their sexual activities. The main issue is lack of awareness. Children are unaware of the consequences of such acts. This can only be solved by mandatory sex education in every school and institutions. Parents should openly talk about sex with their children instead of hiding it. These morals can only be taught to children by their parents and teachers and cannot be inculcated through legislation.

In every situation, the law cannot become a preventive measure to combat the issue. It can only put fear in the minds of children if they are aware of the consequences of their actions. Thus, building and development of a child in the right path always start from home. More awareness and workshops for both parents and children can definitely help to combat this issue to some extent. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual harassment on social media can be; praising body shapes, throwing personal questions (concerning personal organs), sending photos, links, or porn videos, asking victims to send naked photos or videos, threats of rape, solicitation of sexual relations, acknowledging making the victim’s body a sexual image (April 2017). This study is focused on sexual harassment on social media and found two forms, directly (the meaning of the sentence.

Then, to answer the research questions the factors of sexual harassment on social media, it is known that there are two, namely, attention search and different perceptions between images among netizens. This factor occurs because of the large number of social media users who are teenagers, so they want the attention of the opposite sex due to physical attraction. Suggestions based on this study are the need to develop families both as perpetrators and victims so. Developing an intervention, such as psych education, for adolescents and families could be an option to control individual’s behavior this is because social media is a technology that requires supervision and rules from parents to teenagers who use it (Shamrock, 2012).

Author: Choining Tshomo,
Lovely professional University 2nd year, BALLB

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