#Article (Archive)

Sexual harassment is no joke

Jan 30, 2020, 2:49 PM

Sexual harassment is a societal problem that needs to be addressed and uprooted in our society. Reports of women being harassed in work places and public spaces is not a new phenomenon anymore. This had been endured and fought against by women in the many occasions that they are faced by this.

In simple terms, sexual harassment is a behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation. In other words, sexual harassment is the lack of consent and the feeling of discomfort and uneasiness for the victim.

This is a rising problem in many institutions where other men and other authoritative figures at work feel they have the power over lower-ranking employees.

Recently, The Gambia Press Union through the Women Journalists Association of The Gambia (WOJAG) with support from partners validated a sexual harassment policy for the media. The policy seeks to tackle the problems of sexual harassment in the newsrooms. The move is not only timely, but laudable.

Sexual harassment is no joke. And it is high time institutions put in place framework or mechanisms to get rid of these heinous societal-ills.

We all know survivors of sexual assault often face the fear of not being believed, that when they do come forward they will be derided and ridiculed for appearing in a manner or wearing a dress that was “too short”, “provocative” etc. However, these societal-ills do not discriminate by gender; there are generally more women who are targeted and sexually harassed than men.

Furthermore, institutions should not be cowards in protecting the welfare of women and those sexually assaulted.

We owe it to our employees in creating a safer environment for all. And we can uproot this menace if we combine our efforts and break the culture of silence by reporting the perpetrators.

We therefore, implore on other institutions who have not yet introduced similar policy to do so with utmost sincerity, so as to provide safe spaces for our working staff. So each one, teach one. And let’s all stamp out sexual harassment from our decent society.

‘‘There is no kind of harassment that a man may not inflict on a woman with impunity in civilized societies.’’

Denis Diderot