A week after two interns levelled allegations of sexual harassment against a recently retired Supreme Court judge, another woman lawyer has come with a charge against an unnamed senior advocate of making advances which were "in the nature of an obsessive romantic and sexual interest".
The lawyer, who has ceased to assist the senior advocate, today wrote about her experience on website 'Legally India' which had brought into public domain the allegations of the two interns that they faced sexual harassment by the judge.
The woman also said she does not want that what she is writing should become a legal complaint as she has no intention of pursuing it.
She said, "In some ways, these kind of advances are harder to voice an objection to without sounding delusional, and even harder to convince people to take seriously as I discovered when I spoke to some friends. While most readily saw it as a form of sexual interest that is clearly inappropriate, fewer saw it as harassment, and fewer still as discrimination."
"After all, he didn't demand sexual favours, nor did the interaction affect my work. He wasn't being sexist in the sense of thinking, I was only good for one thing ¿ I still did and was given great work. He didn't exhibit a problem with successful female professionals. To many people, he seemed a reasonable, equality-minded sort of person with a bit of a crush," she said.
The female lawyer said the behaviour of her senior misses the scope of the term "hostile work environment" which certainly goes beyond hostility as only being assaulted, fired, denied a promotion or a pay cut.
Further she said it misses the fact that sexual harassment embodies fundamental gender stereotypes and that the hierarchy restrains people from challenging them.
"It misses how humiliating it is, to be singled out for unwanted attention, and to feel powerless. The impact it can have on one's self esteem and career choices. How victims are perceived and valued in workplaces by employers, and differently so by peers, the kind of gossip and stereotyping it gives rise to which affects not just victims but all women, how they choose to deal with it and what strategies they use to make the best of a situation, and how they feel about those strategies," she wrote.
She added that it took her a while to be able to talk