Institutional Safeguard(s)

Institutional Safeguard(s)
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Touchwood, by and large, and except for some egregious instances, Kashmir’s work places have been and are free from the blight of sexual predation. Of course, this assertion holds in relative terms. There can be under or (un) reported instances of these cases here. As a collective and institutional response, the Kashmir Editor’s Guild( KEG) has instituted measures to bring potential cases of sexual predation and harassment to public notice by designing cells wherein such complaints can be heard. This is a step in the right direction as it allows for a medium wherein victims can articulate and vent their experience(s). In fact, this potential measure is better than articulating and expressing such instances and issues on social media on prudential grounds. On social media, a person’s reputation can be torn to shreds especially if the person in contention against whom allegations are made and these turn out to be either based on vendetta or plain viciousness. This is not to state or assert that all allegations on the medium of social media are baseless but some can be. So, prudentially, an institutional mechanism where cases can be investigated and then closure sought on these might be better. But, there is a caveat in order here: while extreme care must and should be taken in dealing with cases of sexual predation and harassment, investigations and the attendant naming and shaming, for and of those found guilty of these odious practices must be carried out and conducted without fear , favor or pressure. Like the Me Too movement that has also found its way in and to Kashmir, the institutional protection of women and the prospect of naming and shaming the guilty can constitute a deterrent against both sexual predation and harassment. Generally and philosophically speaking, mankind’s nature is dual: it is both evil and good and in terms of sexual morality, mankind can slip into error and sin very easily. The best antidote and check on this kind of error and sin is provided by the framework and ideals of Islam. So , the most effective way of checking this menace lies in following our religion both, in letter and spirit. But, in the meantime and for those who are structurally prone to predation , institutional mechanisms like the one proposed by the KEG might constitute a useful starting point. Let then this step and measure be made more robust and strengthened.