My employer sexually harassed me and threatened to falsely accuse me of stealing

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Sarita (name changed), a woman domestic worker from Bihar, migrated to South Delhi a few years ago in search of employment.

One of the houses Sarita worked in consisted of a family of three – a couple and their son. Both her employers – husband and wife – would leave for office in the morning, leaving their young son behind. He would be the only person in the house while Sarita worked there.

One day, when Sarita was cleaning, she noticed the boy staring at her. She was extremely uncomfortable, but wanted to avoid trouble. So, she chose to ignore it.

A few days later, the boy asked Sarita to bring him some juice. When she took the glass to his room, he took her hand, held it and asked her to sit next to him. Sarita immediately refused, and returned to work. The boy then told her he would tell everyone she was stealing from the house and harassing him while they were alone.

When Sarita returned to work the next day, her employers confronted her. When she told them their son had sexually harassed her, they refused to believe her. Instead, she was dismissed from her job.

Sarita 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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