16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign
Throughout the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), UN Women, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO), the Fiji Women Rights Movement (FWRM), Haus of Khameleon, and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) joined hands to raise awareness about sexual harassment, emphasising that sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious and pervasive human rights violation.
We are all concerned and we all have a role to play to stop sexual harassment in the workplace.
Whether in the private or public or informal sector, in a permanent or part-time job, in a local civil society organization or an international organization, or engaged in domestic work, everyone has the right to work in dignity.
For far too many Pacific women and some men, sexual harassment is something they’ve had to deal with on their own. They have endured unwelcome remarks on how they dress and how they look, questions about their intimate relationships, inappropriate touching, exposure to images with sexual content, rude gestures and language, pressure for dates or sexual favours, and so on.
In most cases, victims of sexual harassment choose not to report their experiences because of fear of retaliation from harassers or employers, shame, fear of being blamed for the harassment, or lack of trust in the complaint mechanism. Many also think that people will not believe them, especially when the harasser is in a position of power or authority.
Sexual harassment is not ‘normal’ behaviour in the workplace and neither is it inevitable. Pacific Island countries and territories can enact clear sexual harassment laws, employers can formulate strong policies to bring an end to it, and Pacific people, wherever they work, have a role to play individually to bring an end to sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Don’t take it lightly.
- Don’t make fun of it.
- Don’t cross the road and pretend it isn’t happening.
- Be supportive.
- Show respect to the victims of sexual harassment.
- Ask the harasser to stop.
- Know your rights, and know that they apply to everyone.
Everyone has the right to work and to live in dignity: this is a clear commitment made by Pacific islands countries in regional and international human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the ILO C111 Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention.
We remain committed to ending violence against women and supporting women’s economic empowerment through our Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration, and this can only be achieved if sexual harassment is stopped.
We – the Pacific Community, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, UN Women, the International Labour Organization, the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization, the Fiji Women Rights Movement, the Haus of Khameleon, and the Forum Fisheries Agency – are all committed to stopping sexual harassment in the workplace and we invite you to work with us to put an end to it.