I was new to Delhi when I faced sexual harassment at my workplace for the first time

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“I was new to Delhi when I faced sexual harassment at my workplace for the first time”

My name is Geeta and I am from West Bengal. I came to Delhi with my husband 25 years ago to look for work. We reside in Gautampuri, South East Delhi.

I was newly married when I started my first job as a domestic worker. My place of work consisted of a joint family and one of my employers there was a 65-year-old man. My tasks were to clean the house.I only used to speak in Bengali and I did not understand my employers’ language, Hindi.

One day, while I was sweeping the floor, the 65-year-old employer started snatching my sari’s pallu. I felt very uncomfortable by this and told him to stop. He pretended not to understand what I was saying, as he did not know Bengali.

On another day, I caught him constantly staring at my breasts. This made me feel very disgusted.

Being new to the city, I decided not to go to the police station to file a complaint against him. The only person I shared this with was my husband. We decided mutually that I should leave that place of work.

Geeta is among millions of women domestic workers in India who are forced to keep silent about their experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace. Migrant status, desperation to earn and lack of strong legal mechanisms to prevent and redress such instances in their workplace make it harder for them to open up about their experiences. With #MainBhi, Sita has joined hands with the Martha Farrell Foundation, supported by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, to strengthen institutional mechanisms and response to their experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace. Find out more about the project here

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