Basavaraj A. Patil, Principal District and Sessions Judge, said here on Saturday that women were harassed by obscene text messages on their cell phones, driving some of them to commit suicide.

Inaugurating a special lecture programme on sexual harassment and self-defence in the IDSG Government First Grade College, Mr. Patil called upon women not to disclose their cell phone numbers to those outside their close circle.

Regretting that sexual harassment was occurring in public places, homes and offices, he said women should become vigilant and learn to defend themselves. He advised them to bring such incidents to the notice of their superiors or the police. He urged them to make use of several laws available to control this malaise. Stating that about 90 per cent of such incidents were not brought to the notice of the authorities concerned due to social stigma, he stressed the need to educate women living in rural areas of the laws concerning sexual harassment.

Mitra Haraje, Additional Superintendent of Police, said such incidents should immediately be brought to the notice of the authorities and not after the situation has deteriorated. Chandrakala H. Hosamani, police sub-inspector, explained several self-defence measures to students.

Dr. Zarina Kauser, principal of IDSG College, presided over the programme.