The assistant vice president of Genpact committed suicide after being accused of sexual harassment by two female colleagues. The suicide reminds me of the Roop Kishor Agrawal suicide case. Roop Kishor was put behind bars on mere allegations of rape. He served one month in jail and after coming out of jail, he committed suicide. In this case Genpact employee Swaroop Raj was accused of SHWAP(sexual harassment at the workplace)by two women employees of the same company and he was suspended on mere allegations. Wait for a few days and everyone will forget this case just like people forgot Roop Kishor’s case. We never learn from such cases although these kinds of cases are reported almost every day in some parts of the country.
There are two aspects, in this case, one is that he was accused and suspended, second is that he thought that this ruined his life forever. The first aspect is the lack of awareness. It is mandatory for every company, government office or any small institution to do POSH training sessions every three months. Genpact is a big name and it is shocking to know that the company was not following the VISHAKHA guidelines and POSH rules properly. Swaroop was suspended without any inquiry; this is a matter of biggest concern. The procedure is that on such complaints an internal committee is formed which talks to both the parties. The man cannot be suspended just like that, it is his right to protest against such decisions. Obviously, Swaroop did not know about the rights and law just like any other man. Had he knew about this, he would have protested against the suspension. That is why I keep insisting that training for men is more important. We keep training our women and completely ignore men. In the era of one-sided, biased laws men have become vulnerable. Any random woman can complain and play with their dignity. In such a situation it is important that there should be some help available to men. It is unfortunate and sad that a young man with lots of calibers ended his life this.
The first aspect can be covered by following these steps –
- Mandatory training to men about handling such cases as POSH, domestic violence, 498a, and rape.
- Awareness programs where all aspects should be covered properly.
- Gender sensitivity training should include men and boys as victims, not as predators.
- Women should be made accountable.
- Women who lie should be punished so that a precedent is set.
- Training on how to behave at a workplace for both men and women.
- Helpdesk for men in every corporate and government official.
- Only trained people should be allowed to conduct training and to be a part of the internal committee.
- Trainers should not be biased
- There should helpdesk available for men too.
The other aspect, which Swaroop wrote in his suicide note, “The allegations are baseless but the entire Genpact will know about and I do not have courage to face anyone.” There is a hidden line in this whole letter that his dignity is gone he will not get it back. When I was running a community center for men, many men used to say that they never went to police station, how will they face it. This is a concern of any law-abiding citizen and when I was going for bail in 498a, I was thinking same. Whole life you follow rules, regulations, pay taxes on time and then one day you land up in court because a girl accused you. This shakes your life and you do not know how to face the world with such allegations. There are people in my known circle who think it was our fault. This is the reality of the world that man and his family is always in question. It takes a lot of courage to go through the process and face it without getting depressed. Many people could not take it and do what Swaroop did or fall in the trap of depression, as I am repeatedly saying here that there is zero help available to men.
A man’s dignity is not counted, I will tell you how, I was doing a training program on POSH and there was this man who was questioning the whole law again and again. When the trainer said that during the process of inquiry the accused man can be transferred. He questioned,” how come the man can be transferred without being proved guilty, what about his dignity”, everyone just smiled. The smile meant that the man does not have dignity, you can do anything to them and they have to take it as a macho man. A man who expects dignity is not a man enough so just be ready with the macho man image.
It is the need of the hour to train men for any such situation, there should be training programs specially designed for men. The line that I never visited any police station is irrelevant, get ready because if it is Swaroop today it can be anyone tomorrow because there are no checks on women. Suicide helplines should be available everywhere. Family plays a big role in such areas, support your male family member unconditionally because there is no other support available for him. Generally, suicide means desperation for help, be the help and support.