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Actress Swara Bhaskar Says “Sexual Harassment Cases at Workplace Are Like an Epidemic”

On the acting front, Swara has two web-series in the pipeline

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Swara Bhaskar
Kareena is inspiration for working girls: Swara. flickr

Actress Swara Bhaskar, who has been a supporter of India’s #MeToo movement, says that sexual harassment cases at the workplace are like an epidemic. She hopes to bring awareness about it via the film and television industry.

The Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA) recently announced that it will be setting up committees to tackle sexual harassment in the industry and will have actors Swara Bhaskar, Renuka Shahane and Raveena Tandon among others as members.

Talking about her role in the committee, Swara said, “I am part of a sub-committee which is formed by CINTAA which will conduct workshop regarding awareness against sexual harassment at the workplace for its members. We have total 24 unions in our industry and it has more than 5 lakh members in it so we will try to work together on this front with these unions.”

“When you hear about #MeToo stories then, you will realize that cases of sexual harassment at workplace are like an epidemic. It is like a disease so, awareness regarding that is really important so through this sub-committee, we will generate awareness among our members,” said the actress, who was at The Wedding Junction Show 2018 here.

Nana patekar, metoo
Tanushree Datta Started the MeToo Movement few days back in Bollywood.

On the acting front, Swara has two web-series in the pipeline.

“One of them is titled ‘It’s Not That Simple’ season 2… Apart from that, I am doing an interesting series called ‘Rasbhari’,” she said.

Also Read- Loss of Teeth in Elder People Linked to Malnutrition

“After that, I am starting another very interesting series at the end of this year in which I am playing a police officer for which I have to speak in Marathi, so that’s a challenge because I have been living in Mumbai from many years but its first time that I will be speaking Marathi for my project.”

Swara’s upcoming web series “Rasbhari”, directed by Nikhil Bhat, will be a 10 episode series set in the local culture and flavour of small town Uttar Pradesh. She will be playing an English teacher named Shanoo in a Meerut school who has caught the attention of a boy from the 11th grade. (IANS)

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“We Can Make Difference By Rendering Services To The Women And Children” All-female Legal Group Fights In Sierra Leone

Most of the time the children, the women, are not aware of the signs and symptoms. They’re not aware of anything until it had fully happened, so the conversation has to start from the bottom up.”

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Sierra Leone
Fatmata Sorie, president of Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice (LAWYERS), is pictured in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019. Pixabay

In Sierra Leone, cases involving the abuse of women have rarely been prosecuted. Spousal abusers, child abusers and even rapists have, too often, walked free.

A group of lawyers and judges — all of them female — has decided to take action to change that.

“We’ve seen a lot of issues affecting our women and girls in our society, and we believe that, with the expertise that we have, we can make a difference by rendering services to the women and children who need it most,” said Fatmata Sorie, an attorney and president of the group Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social justice (LAWYERS).

The group was founded 22 years ago and offers pro bono legal work to those in need. One of the founding members was Patricia Kabbah, a former first lady of Sierra Leone and a lawyer herself.

LAWYERS has about 50 members, and Sorie says they discourage out-of-court settlements in rape cases, preferring to prosecute attackers to the full extent of the law. They also prosecute accessories to the crime. The group conducts outreach to families, encouraging people to break their silence about sexual violence.

FILE - A five-year-old girl poses with her doll as she sits in her wheelchair in the courtyard of the Aberdeen Women's Center, one year after a sexual assault that her family says left her paralyzed, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019.
A five-year-old girl poses with her doll as she sits in her wheelchair in the courtyard of the Aberdeen Women’s Center, one year after a sexual assault that her family says left her paralyzed, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Feb. 7, 2019. VOA

“We also start within our homes because, in most homes, we don’t sit down as parents, as families, to discuss issues,” she said. “So most of the time the children, the women, are not aware of the signs and symptoms. They’re not aware of anything until it had fully happened, so the conversation has to start from the bottom up.”

In an unprecedented move, President Julius Maada Bio in February declared rape and sexual violence a national emergency. The country had more than 8,500 reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence last year, but observers believe thousands of additional cases go unreported.

According to the Rainbo Initiative, a Sierra Leonean organization that helps survivors of gender-based violence, 93 percent of victims treated are younger than 17 years of age, and 24 percent are younger than 11.

rape
The president also created a special police division to handle rape cases. But Sorie believes there is more work to be done. Pixabay

The presidential declaration is already having an effect.

“We believe the most prominent impact so far is that we will have more numbers coming out because people feel more comfortable coming up to report these cases,” Sorie said. “And we also have a situation where the regulations are passed based on the declaration that was made by the president. The process for prosecuting sexual penetration and rape cases would be much shorter based on the instruction and the directives.”

 

Also Read:National Award Winning Filmmaker Rima Das Roots for More Female Directors

The president also created a special police division to handle rape cases. But Sorie believes there is more work to be done. She would like to see the maximum penalty for rape increased to life in prison from the current limit of 15 years and wants stronger witness-protection programs. She also said the nation needs additional medical facilities to treat rape victims and forensics labs to test DNA samples.

“We need to keep the fight going and to curb this menace within our society,” she said. (VOA)