Protect yourself from sexual predators at workplace

Sexual-HarassmentBrahmanda (ब्रह्माण्ड) is how we imagine the situation. This depends on how we receive and interpret signals from the outside world. This world is fully under our control. We are Brahma (ब्रह्मा), its creators, hence the Upanishadic maxim उपनिषद के सूत्र, Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahma – अहम ब्रह्मास्मि) and Tat tvam asi (So are you – तत् त्वं असी). You know what his signals mean and you are responding to them in a way that informs him clearly that you have understood his intentions and are uncomfortable with it. You have a choice here. You can choose not to show him that you have understood. Use the knowledge to protect yourself but do not give him the pleasure of knowing that you have got it.

Play dumb, stick to your professional role, refuse to give him the slightest hint that ‘I know what you are up to’ because that will only add fuel to fire. If he feels you are not getting his messages, he may intensify his efforts, make one mistake – send an sms or email, and you will have your proof.

Prakriti is nature. And in nature, for all our human capabilities, we are just animals: predator or prey. We yearn for power. We therefore use every opportunity to dominate and feel safe. When a person behaves as a sexual predator, it means that they are hungry, in other words they feel inadequate, incomplete or invalidated.

In your eyes, your super boss is a performer but clearly he does not feel life has given him what is due to him. Hence his desire to grab and snatch things from others, especially those who he sees as weak. He finds power in flirting with danger and getting away with it. The more you resist, the more excited he gets. It’s the thrill of the chase.

So remember, you are dealing with a beast, not a human being who is rational. When confronted, he will deny it with passion. No one likes to be shown the mirror. No one likes to admit they are essentially beasts. If you imagine yourself to be a victim, you will always feel victimized. The predator thrives in fear. Don’t nourish him. See yourself as a hero who will not be pushed around by this animal.

Take firm steps to protect yourself and the organization. Tell your family and friends about your feelings and the lack of evidence. Make a joke of it, verbalize your doubts and fears, so that no one points fingers at you, but everyone is aware something is amiss. Firmly avoid being alone with the man. Reinforce the rules of Sanskriti.

If confrontation is not feasible, then dilution is a possibility: make sexual harassment a major HR initiative in the company. You could befriend the family of the super boss using company initiatives. Let the predator know that he has more to lose if he crosses the line. It will take a few attempts to tame him, but remember, underlying his attempts to dominate is deep fear.

(The author’s new book ‘Business Sutra — a very Indian approach to management’ is available in bookstores) (Extract from ET)