Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tell All : Sexual Harassment

Source & copy from: http://www.awam.org.my/sexualh.html

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is one of the most common forms of Violence Against Women. Sexual harassment is defined as receiving any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature including sexual comments, fondling, lewd gestures, jokes, emails, smses, pornographic pictures, coercion and more.

Women are sexually harassed habitually in public and especially at the workplace. In the workplace, sexual harassment is seldom recognized or linked to the broader issue of Violence against Women and discrimination.

Fast facts :
  • A 2002 study conducted by AWAM and Women’s Development Collective (WDC) found that 35% of respondents in Malaysia had experienced one or more forms of sexual harassment.
  • Sexual harassment consists of a wide range of behaviors and actions, most common of these are verbal forms of harassment such as jokes, obscene language and suggestive remarks. Many consider these ‘harmless’ and victims are often accused of over-reacting.
  • Studies show that survivors of sexual harassment are more likely to be in the lower rungs of the company i.e. in subordinate positions.
  • Studies show that survivors are mostly likely to not take any action due to fear of reprisal.
  • There is currently no Malaysian law criminalizing sexual harassment. There is only a Code of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, launched in 1999 by the Ministry of Human Resources.
  • Legal action can be taken under other provisions in the Penal Code, Employment Act 1955, and the Industrial Relations Act 1967.
  • Sexual harassment can be very traumatizing for women resulting in emotional stress, low productivity and damaged self-esteem.
What to do if you have been or are being sexually harassed?

  • Tell the harasser that you don’t like his actions and that you want him to stop.
  • If the harassment continues, tell your Human Resources department or your union representative.
  • Keep all evidence of the harassment for e.g. emails, smses etc.
  • Keep a written account of the harassment including date, time, the harasser’s name and how the incident(s) happened.
  • If no action is taken or there is no one you can report this to within your organisation or company, you may lodge a report with the Labour Department or the police.
  • Tell a trusted colleague who can give you emotional support.
  • Call us or a women’s NGO for help and guidance.
Sexual Harassment campaigns:

Together with the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) AWAM campaigns for the enactment of a Sexual Harassment Act.

We were only one of two NGOs on the government’s Technical Working Committee that produced the Code of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment in the in the Workplace that was introduced in 1999. The Code has been an important addition to anti-sexual harassment efforts in this country but is insufficient particularly since it is not compulsory for private sector entities to implement it.

In 2001, AWAM supported a petition drive coordinated by the Women’s Centre for Change which received 12,000 signatures – including from more then 60 organisations – backing this legislation. Lobbying work for the enactment of the Sexual Harassment Act is still in progress as we seek for adequate, timely and effective redress mechanisms for victims, and for the promotion of a healthy and respectful working environment.

85, Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
TELENITA Helpline : 03-78770224 | Office Phone : 03-78774221 | Email : awam@awam.org.my
Sometimes "no" means "try a little harder...."

Source: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200904/men-sexually-harass-women-because-they-are-not-sexist-i

One of the unfortunate consequences of the ever-growing number of women joining the labor force and working side by side with men is the increasing number of sexual harassment cases, particularly in the United States. Why is this? Is sexual harassment a necessary and inevitable consequence of the sexual integration of the workplace? What is sexual harassment, anyway, and how can evolutionary psychology explain it?

The scholar who pioneered the study of sexual harassment is Kingsley R. Browne of the Wayne State University Law School, whom we’ve encountered before. Browne identifies two types of sexual harassment cases: the quid pro quo cases (“You must sleep with me if you want to keep your job or be promoted”) and the “hostile environment” cases (where the workplace is deemed too sexualized for workers to feel safe and comfortable). While feminists and social scientists tend to explain sexual harassment in terms of “patriarchy” and other nefarious ideologies, Browne locates the ultimate cause of both types of sexual harassment in the sex differences in evolved psychological mechanisms and mating strategies, thereby “seeking roots in biology rather than ideology.”

Studies unequivocally demonstrate that men are far more interested in short-term casual sex than women. For example, in a classic study, 75% of undergraduate men approached by an attractive female stranger agree to have sex with her; most of the remaining 25% excuse themselves on the ground that they are already in long-term relationships and their girlfriends might find out about their affair. In contrast, absolutely none of the women approached by an attractive male stranger agree to have sex with him. Many men who would not go on a date with the stranger nonetheless agree to have sex with her. In another study, men on average desire nearly twenty sex partners in their lifetimes; women desire less than five. Men on average seriously consider having sex with someone after only one week of acquaintance; women’s average is six months.

The quid pro quo and similar types of harassment are manifestation of men’s greater desire for short-term casual sex than women’s, and their willingness to use any available means to achieve their goal. While feminists often claim that sexual harassment is “not about sex but about power,” Browne astutely points out that it is about both; it is about men using power to get sex. “To say that it is only about power makes no more sense than saying that bank robbery is only about guns, not about money.”

The sex differences in the desire for short-term casual sex are exacerbated by another sex difference in evolved psychological mechanisms: a woman’s desire to understate her sexual desire in a particular man and to engage in what is known as “token resistance.” In one study, nearly 40% of undergraduate women admitted to saying no to sexual advances from a man even though they actually wanted to have sex with him. More than a third of these cases where the women initially said no eventually resulted in consensual sex. As the late great behavior geneticist Linda Mealy, whom we’ve also encountered before, eloquently puts it: “That females are selected to be coy will mean that sometimes saying ‘no’ really does mean ‘try a little harder.’” Of course, women sometimes do mean no when they say no, but this isn’t always the case.So the quid pro quo type of sexual harassment can be explained by the sex differences in the interest in short-term mating, and men’s willingness to use anything at their disposal to obtain it

What do you think?

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