Behind the Label: Garment Worker Manjula has Boldly Stood Up Against Workplace Harassment

In this episode of Behind the Label, Manjula, a garment worker, speaks about the workplace sexual harassment she had faced years back. Prior to the job, she used to suffer a lot on the home front as well; her husband used to beat her up every day. Though she had three children, she left them all and escaped to Bangalore to lead a safer life. She had learned to tailor at a young age which helped her land a job at a garment factory in the city.

Garment Worker Poster- RJ Asha

Her life was sailing smoothly – she had started earning on her own and every weekend, she would travel to Mandhya to meet her children. Unbeknownst to her, the factory manager had started taking a liking to her. One day, he called her to his cabin and propositioned her. A horrified Manjula rejected his advances.

This was the start of Manjula’s daily torture. The manager would keep badgering her, telling her that one day, I will put jasmine flowers in your hair.

Unable to bear it any longer, Manjula approached the labour union one day for help. The manager tried to bribe her into stopping the complaints, but she didn’t budge. Unfortunately, one day while returning from Mandhya at 11 O’clock at night, she was attacked by three men, who robbed her and beat her. As soon as they were about to kill her, a car appeared and the men escaped. Later, she was taken to the hospital and a case was registered at the police station.It is yet unclear if the robbery and the workplace harassment cases are connected.

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