Reports of sexual harassment and sex crimes in general have put India on the radar for some time now. Not only are there unfortunate cases cropping up every day, but more and more people are becoming aware of their rights and victims are not afraid to speak up anymore.
There probably is a downside to all this.
People are extra wary and this caution can lead to disaster when it is exercised thousands of feet in the air. Recently there have been reports of male Indian pilots preferring to leave the cockpit unattended rather than allowing in female crew members, fearing a possible harassment case against them.
These pilots can become so fearful that they even put standard operating procedures aside. According to the standard operating procedures governing flight safety, the pilot or the co-pilot can leave the cockpit only after a member of cabin crew has been called onto the flight deck. This is to ensure that if the person flying the plane suddenly falls sick, there is someone to tend to him or her and get the other pilot back urgently.
But recent reports emerged that a pilot would leave his partner alone in the cockpit rather than allow him to be in close quarters with a female attendant.
Their fear of female cabin crew slapping them with charges of sexual harassment apparently overrides their fears of risking hundreds of loves - including their own.
Airlines, however, deny any such occurrences, saying that such charges were preposterous. However, a pilot admitted, “The new law is playing on our psyche.'' "We pilots are constantly discussing this issue and now believe that it is better that the air hostess complain about not being allowed entry into the cockpit than them complaining about being groped.”
Now isn’t that a worrying thought to have thousands of feet above ground?