Thursday, December 12, 2013

Right to Harassment Free Environment - Sexual and Verbal

For my latest uni assignment, I was asked to write a 30 minutes radio segment on Women's Rights to a Harassment Free Environment in the work place. 

As I am not the most politcal person around - it was quite difficult for me because I honestly knew NOTHNG about the topic at hand. 

Researching it turned out to be a whole lot of fun though and pretending I was on a radio talk-show??? Well... I reveled in it! :) 

See below my little radio segment - (it does actually have a lot of information for those of you who are actually interested in the matter). 


Right to Harassment Free Environment (Sexual and Verbal)
Written by Jade Wright

17:00 – 17:05            >          Good evening South Africa and welcome to those that have just joined us after work today. My name is Jade and I am going to be accompanying you while you drive through the five o-clock traffic this evening. I am going to be speaking to you about women’s rights to a harassment free environment in the work place, both sexually and verbally. Harassment to such a degree is unfair labour practice and needs to be dealt with immediately before it progresses into something even more serious. Both types of harassment are just as serious as the other and it is vital that we make both women and men aware of it. My hope is that today I will be able to help many of you better understand your rights in a situation such as this and to gain the confidence that is needed to come forward about it. 

                                    Sexual and verbal harassment happens to millions of women on a daily basis and the majority of them are too afraid to come forward about it and open up a case. This fear is often known as a fear of victimisation. Many women refuse to report this sort of harassment as it would be to the expense of being ill-treated at work, whereas in actual fact, women need to know that their complaint has the right to be treated very seriously and also confidentially. Not dealing with such a situation only makes it appear acceptable and fuels even worse behaviour.

                                    Whether it is that you are already a victim in such a situation or could be in the future, you deserve to know your rights because it is a form of illegal employment discrimination. Abuse of any sort should never be taken lightly and should be reported at the soonest possibility before it transgresses into more than just the odd comment, stare, vulgar gesture or any unwanted sexual attention for that matter. This is unfortunately often just the start of full on sexual assault.  With that being said, the abusers also need to be made aware of what they are doing and the impact that it has on the lives of their employees or co-workers at hand. They need to know that their behaviour is not normal and certainly not acceptable or tolerable. 

                                    The fact of the matter is that if you let the harassment continue without coming forward about it, the subconscious stress and psychological damages it can have on you are ginormous. For example – without even realising it, your work performance could plummet downward, dropping due to the stress. This in turn could lead to your dismissal in the work place. That is just one of the effects that sexual and verbal harassment can have on your life if just brushed off or ignored. I will go on in more detail in a few minutes time after a few songs I chose out that I think relate to the topic at hand. Don’t go away – there’s much more to come.

17:05 – 17:15            >          It’s Been a While – Staind
            Empty – The Cranberries
            Someday You Will Be Loved – Death Cab For Cutie

17:15 – 17:20            >          Alright, it is now quarter past five in the evening and you’re with Jade, discussing women’s rights to a harassment free environment in the work place both sexually and verbally. 

                                    Firstly, let’s discuss what sort of behaviour could be classified as sexual or verbal abuse. Some more common behaviour include bribery such as promising an increase in return for sex, inappropriate touching, vulgar gestures and staring at your body indiscreetly making you feel uncomfortable. It can also be smaller things such as a simple whistle or sexual joke, comments about your skin colour or religion - anything that affects your dignity as a human being.

Have you ever been harassed at work? Have you ever received unwanted attention from your boss, manager or co-worker? It is more common than you think and needs to be dealt with immediately before it affects your life in some of the following ways:

·         Dismissal from your job
·         A loss of recommendation or a good reference for future job opportunities
·         Decreased sex life with your partner
·         Divorce
·         Depression
·         Anxiety
·         Insomnia 

Another effect it could have on you is self-destruction. You could revert to drinking alcohol or develop an eating disorder to deal with your situation. You may even find yourself experiencing emotions such as guilt and shame. More often than not, women have a tendency to shift the blame upon themselves. They start to pick themselves apart and wonder what they did to be treated that way. Was it the way that they dressed or were they too friendly? They are the sort of questions they will start asking and this evidently begins to break them down therefore resulting in some of the effects we have just discussed.   

Two recent cases of sexual harassment here in South Africa portray all too well the fear and consequences that such a form of abuse can lead to. 

A twenty-eight year old telecommunications technician in Durban experienced unwanted behaviour from her executive manager in March this year. When he asked her for her personal telephone number she didn’t even question it as he was a senior person at their company. Only after he started fondling her did she realize that this needed to come to the attention of her supervisor. Although she knew that, she was still petrified to come forward because she was worried she could lose her job if she did. 

Many ‘sexual predators’ as I like to call them, definitely revel in the fear their employees or co-workers have of losing their jobs. It makes them feel untouchable, which is why women need to start putting an end to this sort of situation before it happens to another unsuspecting victim. Did you know that forty to fifty percent of women in the European Union experience sexual and / or verbal harassment at work? That is exactly half of the working women in Europe – and will unfortunately only keep on escalating unless women come together and fight for their right to a harassment free environment in the work place. 

Another recent case in South Africa happened in Johannesburg, at the University of Witwaterstrand. Three lecturers were dismissed by the university with immediate effect after sexual harassment complaints were filed against them. Two of which were fired in July this year and the third in September. Now a fourth lecturer from the same university has actually resigned after being accused of sexual harassment. The vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib states that this brings an end to all individual cases that were being investigated. This is a prime example of why women shouldn’t be frightened to stand up for their rights as now Wits is actively establishing an adequate harassment structure which will from now on be dealing with all matters relating to sexual harassment at the university. 

Hopefully one day women will no longer need to ‘fight’ for their rights to a harassment free environment in the work place as hopefully one day such form of abuse will be unheard of. For the meantime however, we all need to work together and fight to make this a tangible future for us.

17:20 – 17:28            >          It’s My Life – Bon Jovi
                                                I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
                                                Fighter – Christina Aguilera

17:28 – 17:30            >          Well I think those last three tracks, It’s My Life by Bon Jovi, I will Survive by Gloria Gaynor and Fighter by Christina Aguilera managed to give us all some inspiration and confidence. It’s almost half past five and you’re with Jade. This evening I discussed Women’s rights to a harassment free environment in the work place. We learned that it is so much better to come forward and open a case against someone who is treating you with unfair labour practice because it is your right to be able to feel secure with your job if someone is treating you in an inappropriate way. Your situation has the right to be treated seriously no matter how slight the harassment may be. Your claims are also completely confidential and should be treated with the utmost respect. 

                                    Thank you for listening to me this evening and I hope that you all have a wonderful evening ahead.

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  1. This is one topic on which I can go on and on... I have seen women facing it not saying a word and also it has happened to me on job like the South African girl.. My boss tried to sexually harrsement .. But I stood up for myself ..
    U did a real good job with the write up
    Please come and enter my $50 Persunmall giveaway.

  2. I'm not sure if i'd be good at this kind of writing but you can pull off anything!

  3. You are a great writer.. I was harassed at work once, but I just kinda ignored the guy. Unfortunately, it was my boss who, I assume, liked me. Can't blame him too much as I probably got a job just because of that…. When his secretary went on maternity leave, he was desperate to make me his secretary, but I did not want as it would obviously mean having to spend more time with him in person, so I found a job somewhere else.

  4. really great and inspiring post! It's a very important issue and I'm glad you brought light to it

    Alexa <3

  5. You know that quote on one of the images points it out quite well : I can´t believe I still have to fight´s (almost) 2014, really people?

    Great post!

  6. First of all it's such an awesome uni assignment! and secondly you did an amazing job! The piece is so easy to read (listen) it's witty, strikes with some deep thoughts and all in all a great theme to think about




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