Small Actions, Big Impact
The first UN resolution on sexual harassmentt came two years back, in 2018. It urges States to take action to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment against women and girls. In addition, the resolution aims to eliminate structural causes and risk factors in order to better protect victims from all forms of violence, including sexual harassment. It calls on States to acknowledge the discrimination that places women and girls at risk of exploitation, violence, abuse, and to, more importantly, take appropriate actions to empower and protect women and girls.
Given the fact that the resolution from the supreme body came just mere two years back, is in itself a question on our understanding of the society. But, well, as the saying goes, better late than never.
78% of women have experienced sexual harassment in private and public spaces, and in formal and informal institutions, including government agencies and private sector, like, a suggestive comment, a sexually explicit touch, an inappropriate gesture, or being followed. Sexual harassment is a form of violence and discrimination rooted in historic power imbalances and the male dominated culture, which permeates governments, the private sector, international organizations, and even areas of civil society.
We see it happen but stay cautiously silent and we uncomfortably look away. It may be because we want to help but don’t know how to combat the situation in a way that will not bring harm to ourselves and will also help the person caught in such a situation. Politely intervene and strike up a conversation, or ask a question about anything related to work, or just a random trivia you read or watched last night. It can be anything. The takeaway here is that you make sure the perpetrator gets this that someone is watching him, which will discourage him and the next time he thinks of doing something like this, he doesn’t.
Men and women, both should learn these simple, but impactful actions to deal head-on when faced with such a situation. The time has come to keep our heads up. And to stand up for each other against sexual harassment.