I was 23 years old and it was my first job, that too as a teacher. I got the job even before the final result for my post-graduation was declared.
I was really happy about this and also a little jittery with a lot of butterflies in my stomach like any person who get the first job. It is almost a staring of a new world and a way to accomplish your dreams.
Being a biology teacher for class XI and XII, I got a cabin in the biology lab. Very soon I started having a frequent visitor and realized that the math’s teacher for the same class used to come to my cabin quite often and sit there without any specific reason.
Since I was new, he would start a conversation and start asking personal questions such as “what is your age?”, “Are you married or not?”, “What do I think about friendship between a boy and a girl” and the like. I was very uncomfortable with these kind of privacy invading questions and shared this with one of my female colleague. She told me to sit in the staff room instead of the biology lab. I took her advice and started sitting there with all the teacher in the Biology lab.
At one such instance, in the staff room, the math’s teacher again asked the question about me being married or not and related ones, at that time my colleague confronted him and said that “Why you are so concerned about her marriage? Are you planning to give dowry or planning to marry her off?”
This took him off guard, and from there-on I never saw the behavior repeated, whether I sat in the cabin allotted to me all alone, or whether I was in the staff room with the company of numerous women.
I learnt this hard way that we need to stand up for ourselves and say “no” to harassment at workplaces. And not only this, we need to stand-up for others, today they may need you, tomorrow they will save someone, I am now part of that chain and request every woman reading this to stand up for someone.
Sharing always helps, specially in your peer groups and those who are more experienced. When we stand for each other, it always benefits and remember, the lonely you are, the more you shall be targeted.
Have a suggestion which is different than the above, share it at firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall publish it for the benefit of all the readers.