Harassment is bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favours.
In most modern legal contexts, sexual harassment is illegal, It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.
Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
In May 2002, the European Union Council and Parliament amended a 1976 Council Directive on the equal treatment of men and women in employment to prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace, naming it a form of sex discrimination and violation of dignity. This Directive required all Member States of the European Union to adopt laws on sexual harassment, or amend existing laws to comply with the Directive by October 2005.
In 2005, China added new provisions to ‘the law on women’s’ right protection to include sexual harassment. In 2006, “The Shanghai Supplement” was drafted to help further define sexual harassment in China. Sexual harassment was specifically criminalized for the first time in modern Egyptian history in June 2014.
However, it’s 2018 and we’re still very far from even as much believing women who have reported sexual harassment let alone criminalising sexual harassment in Nigeria.
In schools, girls are harassed by their male friends and teachers, I can recall some time last year when secondary school girls were sexually harassed on the streets of Lagos and so many people felt it was a normal thing. In higher institutions, female students are harassed by their male counterparts and lecturers, if they refuse, then there will be consequences.
Sexual harassment has gone on for so long in our society that it has almost become a norm.
A woman goes looking for a job, she’s greeted with an erected penis, if she refuses to comply then she should forget the job.
A lady visits a male friend, she’s greeted with erected penis ready to penetrate her even by force (rape) and when she complains, the society will ask her why she visited a man in the first place?
A married woman goes to work and her boss harasses her sexually on a daily basis, she gets threatened that she’ll lose her job if she doesn’t comply. She decides to confide in the man she called her husband who is jobless, therefore, making all the burdens of the family to fall on her, he accuses her of prostituting with her boss. This way, where does the poor woman stand………………………………..?
Even children are not left out, some of us women who send our daughters or maids to hawk wares for us are daily exposing these innocent little souls to occupational sexual harassment without knowing.
These girls are lured into a house or uncomplicated building with the bid to buy all their wares, on getting there they get raped.
The situation of occupational sexual harassment has become a norm in Nigeria because there’s no law safeguarding females. Even the police will tell you off for reporting sexual harassment.
It seems to me that it’s a crime to be born a woman in Nigeria.
The laws of the land really needs to be upgraded stating specifically that sexual harassment of all kind is an offence. A woman should not have to tolerate any form of sexual harassment as a result of women objectification which is deeply embedded in our culture and tradition.
Let us all come together and say no to every form of sexual harassment.
About her: Mrs Perpetua Ibeh is a Nigerian, lives in England. She is a registered nurse who specializes in adult intensive care. She is also a passionate women advocate.
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