Over 6,090 people, mostly female professionals, were interviewed by the Indian National Bar Association for the study in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Jalandhar, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Guwahati.
Thirty-eight per cent of the respondents said sexual harassment occurred at the workplace, while 22 per cent said they had witnessed or faced it in school and college. The remainder named other places where the abuse was common.
Three out of every four people surveyed said they were inappropriately touched and subjected to lewd comments. They also faced demands for sexual favours.
Over 28 per cent of the respondents said they their immediate manager or a fellow colleague sexually harassed them, while nearly 18 per cent blamed senior members of the organisation.
The Bar Association conducted the study between April and October last year, covering working professionals in the age group of 23-50 in sectors such as IT, education, legal, media and medicine. The study found high level of workplace harassment in IT followed by education, media and legal industries.
“We found that the cases are still very high in the country. We were also shocked by the poor awareness about the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013,” said Zameer Nathani, chairperson (media), Indian National Bar Association.
“Greater awareness is crucial for the fight against the menace.”
Nearly 69 per cent of the survey participants revealed they did not complaint about the workplace harassment to their superiors fearing embarrassment among colleagues and a backlash. They also had little faith in the system that dealt with the complaints.
The forms of sexual harassment varied from inappropriate touch, force and sharing of obscene pictures to indecent exposure by a male colleague.