Awakening to the Call: Urgent PoSH Awareness and Proactive Intervention


In June of last year, 2023, a harrowing incident unfolded amidst the bustling streets of Pune city, casting a shadow over the crowded streets. A 20-year-old woman became the target of a chilling attack by a former classmate wielding a knife, surrounded by a sea of silent bystanders. The gravity of the situation intensified when a nearby shopkeeper chose to shutter his doors, denying the victim refuge from her assailant. In a pivotal moment that could have turned tragic, two individuals emerged as unexpected heroes, risking their own safety to thwart the attacker’s intentions.

These two brave souls, who intervened swiftly and decisively, serve as more than just heroes of a single incident; they represent a profound example for our society to internalize. Their actions embody the spirit of courageous individuals who refuse to stand idly by, recognizing and confronting acts of injustice that threaten to normalize discrimination and violence.

The incident in Pune is not an isolated occurrence; rather, it reflects the all-too-familiar scenarios that unfold in our daily lives, demanding our attention and active participation. Yet, all too often, we find ourselves paralyzed by inaction, whether out of a sense of helplessness, a desire to avoid conflict, or simply a lack of knowledge about how to intervene effectively. This hesitance to intervene extends even into the workplace, where individuals witnessing instances of sexual harassment may hesitate to speak out, fearing repercussions or unsure of the appropriate steps to take.

This brings us to the heart of the matter – the urgent need for heightened awareness and orientation on Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH). The incident serves as a stark reminder that being equipped with the knowledge and skills to intervene is not merely an option but a necessity. PoSH awareness is paramount in the workplace, empowering employees to understand their rights and responsibilities, recognize the signs of harassment, and respond effectively. Rigorous implementation of PoSH policies, complete with clear reporting mechanisms and support structures, is essential to empower victims and hold perpetrators accountable.

Furthermore, the PoSH Act, 2013 enforces comprehensive Internal Committee (IC) training is indispensable to ensure that harassment complaints are handled with sensitivity and professionalism. By equipping IC members with the necessary skills and knowledge, organizations can cultivate a culture where harassment is not tolerated, and victims are supported.

The PoSH Act, 2013 has been enacted with the objective of preventing and protecting women against workplace sexual harassment and to ensure effective redressal of complaints of sexual harassment. However, we still the rise in PoSH cases year on year and non-compliance to the PoSH Act by many organizations. 

In conclusion, the incident in Pune serves as a poignant wake-up call, compelling us to redouble our efforts in preventing sexual harassment through enforcement of the PoSH Act, concerted strategies and community involvement. By elevating PoSH awareness, bolstering policy implementation, enhancing IC training, and collectively striving to prevent such incidents, we can work towards creating safer, more secure communities for all.