16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
“In our culture, it’s normal to flirt with women. They like it.”
“She works in a job that’s usually done by men and her colleagues are all men: what does she expect?”
“This is the nature of our work: it is expected when you work in the service industry.”
“The way she dresses, she’s asking for it.”
“I thought we were friends? I don’t understand why it’s not right to tell her about my intimate relationships.”
“This is who I am. I like to show I’m close to people by putting my arm round their shoulder or giving them a friendly rub: surely there’s nothing wrong with that!”
“She didn’t say no the first time. She might be in a bad mood and she might change her mind again, so I’ll keep trying.”
Wrong! Nothing justifies sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment: how serious is it?
The victims of sexual harassment may experience emotional stress, anger, a feeling of powerlessness and depression It often reflects on their personal life – their behaviour towards their intimate partner can change; they may have less patience with their children because of stress; and they may isolate themselves more and more. Hence, sexual harassment affects women in many aspects of their own life and that of their family.
Sexual harassment also affects employers, because it damages relationships in the workplace, leads to a lack of trust in management, impedes teamwork, affects work performance, and leads to absenteeism, high staff turnover and low productivity. When it’s known outside the organisation, it also affects the organisation’s reputation.
Let’s break the silence on sexual harassment!
- We have a collective responsibility to say stop!
- We need legislation that condemns sexual harassment.
- We need workplace policies to prevent and deal with sexual harassment.
- We need to change our mindset and behaviour about relationships between women and men.
- We need to educate our children, boys and girls of all diversities, to respect each other in all circumstances.