Sexual Harassment Policy Here to Protect Us

I had no idea how protected I am by my organizational policies until after a staff reflection session I participated in during the 16 days of activism against Gender based violence. In fact, until then, I always imagined that these policies that we are made to sign when we are joining the organization were just a bunch of strict laws sugarcoated in many English terms meant to scare people into being on their best behavior.

On so many occasions; if not all, I have just passively appended my signature to such documents because it is a requirement, and I need the position. I hardly took time to read and understand them because they are usually wordy and kind of difficult to read on your own.

During the reflection that was held at Oxafm Lamwo field office, we had group work in which we studied Oxfam Anti bullying/Harassment policy and the l Employment Act on sexual violence at work. It was a very practical and enlightening experience that had one of my colleagues exclaiming that he had never been able to read and understand these policies on his own. It felt like he was reading my mind. I am sure so many employees from their respective organizations could be in the same boat; appending signatures just for the sake of it.

Sexual harassment at work is prevalent. It is not something that activists are ranting about for the sake of it. So many men and women especially, are being harassed -through the language used, the portrayal, some women have been cornered by their superiors to do sexual favours, others have been raped!

You could be saying, “no one can harass me or intimidate me into having sex with them”, power to you for standing up for yourself! There are so many young boys and girls, however, that are fresh out of university, or those that don’t have a developed self esteem that are being preyed on by unscrupulous beings.

It is disgusting. What is more disturbing is that so many of these women fear to speak out not only because they are scared of being branded with scathing names, but mostly because they are not aware that there are laws and policies in place to protect them or to give them justice.

This staff reflection session to me was a big success. I believe if all employers took such initiatives to make their employees fully aware of their rights and responsibilities, we shall have put up a really big fight against sexual harassment; and who knows, we will win it!