Gambia: On Sexual Harassment in Workplaces!

11 December 2019

Sexual harassment is a growing phenomenon in many developing countries and even developed countries. Many offenders sometime commit harassment against women without even knowing that their actions tantamount to sexual harassment. And in the receiving end, victims sometimes see these remarks as compliments.

This had been endured and fought against by women in many occasions that they are faced by this. By definition, sexual harassment is a "behaviour characterised 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 especially present in many workplaces where other men and other authoritative figures at work feel like they have the power over lower-ranking employees. In effect, they say offensive remarks and do inappropriate gestures. This may only seem like a joke to the offender but it depends on how the receiver of the action and the remarks received it. How did she feel being told and being treated that way?

The Gambia Press Union, through the Women Journalists Association of The Gambia recently rolled out Sexual Harassment Policy Sensitisation for both reporters and editors. The initiative is part of a project, entitled 'Breaking the Gender Barriers' in the Media. The 12-month project is funded by the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Through the project, WOJAG hired a consultant to develop a policy on sexual harassment in the media.

The policy seeks to create awareness among members and media chief and in turn promote a society free from sexual harassment.

It is a good initiative by the Union that it seeks to provide safe spaces for the members especially for women. Furthermore, institutions should not be cowards in protecting the welfare of women and those sexually assaulted. Victims of sexual assault go through a lot of hardships before finally admitting to themselves and to other people that they are indeed assaulted.

It is in no way beneficial for one to accuse someone falsely. In the end, their time and reputation are at stake. With that, there is need for people to be always truthful to their claims.

Sexual harassment is no joke. Let's fight to uproot it in our society!

"Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means."

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