At best, research has found, that type of training succeeds in teaching people basic information, like the definition of harassment and how to report violations. At worst, it can make them uncomfortable, prompting defensive jokes, or reinforce gender stereotypes, potentially making harassment worse. Either way, it usually fails to address the root problem: preventing sexual harassment from happening in the first place. That’s because much of the training exists for a different reason altogether. Two 1998 Supreme Court cases determined that for a company to avoid liability in a sexual harassment case, it had to show that it had trained employees on its anti-harassment policies.
Female victims often hesitate to file charges "for fear of being judged" or "because they are ashamed to reveal details of their intimate lives," according to a new booklet containing revised guidelines for forces dealing with crimes of violence against women. The guidelines include new requirements for registering reports of domestic violence, designed to ensure incidents that don't necessarily lead to charges being pressed are kept on file.
The city’s army of rickshaw and taxi drivers pose no particular threat to women. As in other cities, sexual violence in the capital is most frequently committed by men known to their victims. “If drivers were a problem, the Delhi transport system would have come to a stop,” says Rutika Sharma, a social worker who helps run the schemes, developed by the Delhi-based Manas Foundation, a mental health group. But as growing numbers of women venture out to work and simply live their lives, they are coming into more frequent contact with commercial drivers – some from backgrounds where the idea of an independent woman is still relatively new. “We are trying to explain things in 40 minutes or one hour, that they have been seeing for 40 years,” Sharma says.
To create a lasting shift in how men treat women, experts say, prevention is key. "The way we've always responded is through intervention after the fact," Bunch said. "Someone has to be harmed; someone has to go to the hospital; someone has to go to the shelter; someone has to go to human resources. We want to go upstream and prevent it so that it doesn't happen in the first place."
The program bills itself as a class where men “learn how social constructs of masculinity harm them and the people around them, and work to construct healthier masculinities.” Or, as Hicks puts it, “It was eight weeks of guys discussing how they can address their actions with better self-awareness and less toxicity.”