This myth tends to be quite contentious. Often an immediate response we have noticed through our POSH vertical @poshatwork, is this element of questioning the veracity of a complaint made by a woman against a perpetrator of violence and abuse, something that comes up as a fear even during trainings. We have also noted that the persons who have been accused of sexual harassment tend to usually lead by bringing focus to the potential of a malicious complaint.
But how many complaints made are truly malicious/ false? In our experience, while there is a certain number of complaints that are found to be retaliatory, this is invariably a very small number of cases, as compared to the large majority of cases.
This doesn’t mean to say that misuse of the Law by women is okay. In no way should manipulation of the systems and legislations that are meant for the protection and creation of equity in terms of opportunity be allowed, or condoned. Moreover, our systems and processes are designed to look into cases and ensure that justice is meted out as objectively as possible.
However, this tendency is based on the human element of retaliation, vengeance or a response to threat / survival, and is not isolated to being women specific. There is also no research exploring the ‘why’s’ behind this behaviour to understand if this response is to any vulnerability or other motivation / condition.
Furthermore, the number of cases that come in that are real completely outweigh the malicious complaints filed and holding onto a bias because of a few cases can hamper the process for the larger majority. Moreover, these sorts of biases make it harder for women to report cases, making accessibility to protective measures under Law, more difficult.