When a woman is faced with sexual harassment by her boss she has two options – stay quiet or fight back in any way possible.
But, what happens when the law punishes the victim herself. All because she tried her best to collect evidence about the harassment.
Nuril Maknun, a 41-year-old woman in Indonesia, started receiving obscene calls from her boss (the principal at Senior High School Seven) in 2013. He allegedly sexually harassed her and demanded she engages in an affair with him.
As per The New York Times, things started getting out of hand when a rumor of their alleged affair spread in the school. This is when Nuril decided to record the calls to collect evidence. She then shared the recordings with her husband and colleagues to prove her innocence.
What happened next shocked everyone!
When the boss came to know, he decided to file a defamation suit against her.
While her lawyer said she did so for her own protection, the court found Nuril guilty of distributing obscene material by the court.
The court also decreed a jail term for 6 months and a $35,000 (Rs.24 lacs approximately) fine. The victim appealed to Indonesia’s Supreme Court, but this Thursday her motion was denied.
Totally shocked and at a loss of words, Ms. Nuril said she was proud to fight for her “dignity as a woman” but questioned why she was being sent to jail when it was his boss who made the obscene comments. She mentioned,
“Clearly the person has admitted that it was his voice, admitted that he was the one who called me, admitted that he was the one who said things that were inappropriate. Why can he just casually walk around while I, as the victim, am the one being punished?”
Questioning the society, she further added,
“I, as a woman, should be protected, but then I was the one who became the victim. People should know that when we get harassed, there is no place to take refuge.”
The decision has come as a major blow to women’s rights advocates there, who said the court is blaming a victim of harassment while the man who allegedly harassed her will walk free.
Her lawyer is going to apply for amnesty next week, and we hope she is pardoned for her “crime” of protecting herself, and the actual offender is put behind bars.
At I For Her, we want to question the society about how can we live with the laws that punish the victims of sexual harassment, rather than giving them protection and making laws that safeguard them.