I was too scared to talk about my experience of sexual harassment at workplace

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My name is Uma and I am from West Bengal. I have been a domestic worker since I migrated to Delhi. I used to work for a married couple in a residential colony near my settlement in Devli, South Delhi.

The wife used to leave for the office in the morning and I performed my duties in the house while she was gone. These duties also included taking care of the husband, one of my two employers in the house. He had not been keeping well for some time. I used to cook food for him, give him medicines and sometimes a head or foot massage.

One day, while his wife was away, I was giving my employer a foot massage, when I sensed something inappropriate in his body language and gestures. Then he asked me to touch his genitals.

I felt very uncomfortable and scared. I thought about sharing this with my family, but I was too afraid to do it. I decided to keep quiet and just left that place of work.

Uma 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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