Sexual Harassment at workplace - Sexual Harassment at...

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Sexual Harassment at workplace: Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan Bhanwari Devi was born in a low- caste kumhar (potter) family in Bhateri , a small Rajasthani village located 55 km from the state capital, Jaipur . Most of the villagers belonged to the conservative Gurjar community, which is higher in the caste hierarchy than her own Kumhar caste. In the 1980s, child marriages were common in the village, and the caste system was dominant. In 1985, when she needed money, Bhanwari Devi became a saathin ("friend"), a grassroots worker employed as part of the Women's Development Project (WDP) run by the Government of Rajasthan. As part of her job, she took up issues related to land, water, literacy, health, Public Distribution System , and payment of minimum wages at famine relief works. In 1987, she took up a major issue of the attempted rape of a woman from a neighboring village. All of these activities had the full support of the members of her village. However, in 1992, Bhanwari found herself alienated, when she took up the issue of child marriage . According to Bhanwari Devi, at 6 pm on 22 September 1992, while she and her husband were working in their field, five men of her village attacked her husband Mohan Lal, leaving him unconscious. When she came to her husband's rescue, she said, Gyarsa and Badri raped her, while the other three pinned her down on the ground. Bhanwari reported the incident to Ms. Sharma, the pracheta (a block-level worker). The pracheta took her to the Bassi police station to lodge a First Information Report (FIR). The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) who examined Bhanwari for signs of external injury found only two extremely minor bruises. He therefore doubted her story and expressed his doubts to her. To this, Bhanwari is said to have made an unusual, extraordinary reply. She is alleged to have claimed that she was a minor and below the age of consent, and that therefore any intercourse with her, even if she had been a willing participant with no sign of bodily injury, was a criminal offense and should be registered as such by the police officer. Hearing this reply, the DSP sent her to the Primary Health Clinic (PHC) for further examination, with a note requesting a medical report and also a test "confirming the age of the victim. At the Primary Health Clinic, both the female doctors who should have been on duty were unavailable. The Indian medical procedure code and the Indian criminal procedure code both stipulate that examination of alleged rape victims be performed by female doctors. Therefore, the only male doctor available refused to examine Bhanwari's private parts and instead sent her to the Sawai Man Singh hospital in Jaipur, with a chit requesting a thorough medical examination, including the test confirming age of victim as requested by the DSP.
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