What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment, taken literally, is harassment or unwanted attention of a sexual nature. It includes a range of behavior from mild annoyances to serious abuse, which can even involve forced sexual activity. Sexual harassment is considered to be illegal in many countries, and is a form of abuse. It is also considered to be a form of bullying.
Jerry was the new office worker. He worked inside of the sales department. He was married with two children. His employee introduced him to all of the other employees and showed him where his desk was and allowed him to get to work. After two months of working on the job Jerry went to his immediate supervisor to report to him that two of his co-workers were making him uncomfortable on the job. The supervisor was a man named Bill and asked Jerry what he was talking about. Jerry went on to explain how both a male and female employee would constantly pass his desk and touch his hair when they were saying good morning. Jerry had asked both of them to stop but they continued to do it. Bill after hearing Jerry’s story told him that they were just being friendly and to ignore it.
Sexual harassment can occur in any environment. Sexual harassment does not only occur in the workplace but also happens at social gatherings, in public areas such as at bus stops, in the street and in clubs, in schools and colleges. Sexual harassment happens to men as well as women.
The offence occurs when a person assaults another in a manner which grossly offends public morality e.g. touching breasts or other parts of the body, unwelcome kissing, etc. Actual touching may not be involved. Rude or suggestive language can also be considered sexual harassment Sexual harassment in the work place happens to men as well as women. It is a criminal offence for an employer to seek any form of sexual favor as a condition for hiring a person. It is also an offence to threaten dismissal if the sexual favor is not granted. The law works both ways – it is an offence to offer sexual inducement in return for benefit at work. Sexual harassment also occurs in schools and colleges.
Healing the Nation
Everybody has a right to feel safe and comfortable in the work
Place, at school or in whatever environment they are.
Who is the harasser?
• The harasser can be anyone, such as a boss, a supervisor, a client, a co-worker, a teacher or a student, a friend, or a stranger.
• The victim can be male or female. The harasser can be male or female.
• The harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex.
• The harasser may be completely unaware that his or her behavior is offensive or constitutes sexual harassment or may be completely unaware that his or her actions could be illegal.
How does Sexual Harassment affect the Victim?
Some of the psychological and health effects that can occur in someone who has been sexually harassed: anxiety and or depression, sleeplessness, shame and guilt, difficulty concentrating, headaches, lack of motivation, lack of appetite or comfort eating (weight loss or gain), feeling let down or violated, feeling angry or violent towards the perpetrator, feeling powerless or out of control, loss of confidence and self-esteem, withdrawal and loss of trust in people and colleagues, and even suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
Why people do not report Sexual Harassment?
Many incidents of sexual harassment occur in the work place and some victims are afraid they will lose their jobs if they report the matter. They also feel that others might
place the blame on them if they make a report, that they will be accused of “coming on to the perpetrator”. They may also feel that nothing will be done about the harassment.
If it is a friend of the family or relative, there may be a fear that the victim will not be believed.
Many times because of behaviors that are practiced or accepted as social behavior individuals may not always understand that their behavior is offensive and a form of sexual harassment.
The following are some examples of sexual harassment:
• spreading sexual rumors
• repeatedly asking out someone who has said no
• questioning or commenting on someone’s sexuality
• telling sexually offensive jokes
• displaying sexual pictures
• making comments about someone’s clothing or body
• making rude gestures or noises
• touching or rubbing against a person
• pressuring someone for a date
• giving suggestive looks
Anyone experiencing sexual harassment can:
• Firmly tell the harasser that the behavior is not acceptable
• Report the incident to someone in authority
• Report the matter to the police
REMEMBER—Sexual Harassment is not acceptable and you should not have to endure unwanted advances from anyone.
We are one people created equal by God and for the purpose of loving and being loved. Let us work together to Heal ourselves, families, communities, nation and world.
If you would like to talk to someone about sexual harassment, please call or for more information check out our website at http://www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or call us at 328-0922.
We will be publishing articles written by Beaumont Todd, who writes for the Nassau Guardian. For those of who may have missed the articles, we hope you will find them informative and useful. Beaumont welcomes your comments and suggestions.
THE BAHAMAS CRISIS CENTRE
John is an eight year old school boy who seems never able to concentrate in class and pay attention during his lessons. His home room teacher had been trying to reach his parents for weeks with no success. “Why haven’t I heard a reply from your mother or father?” Mrs. Smith asked concerned by the way John was looking very thin lately.
John used to be a very active child in school. He would be excited to answer questions and participate in all class activities. Lately he seemed to lack energy Mrs. Smith noticed and he rarely seemed to be interested in the lesson at all anymore. Mrs. Smith had questioned John about why he didn’t seem interested in his work anymore. John simply answered he didn’t know and would answer no further.
For weeks Mrs. Smith had attempted to reach John’s parents. Decidedly it had gone on long enough, and Mrs. Smith spoke to the Principal who decided to intervene. After making a visit to John’s home the principal was able to report back to Mrs. Smith about John’s home situation. Apparently John’s parents had gone through a recent divorce. After conversing with John’s mother the principal was able to deduce from her conversation that no one noticed John’s sudden and recent change of behavior. John’s mother had further confided to the principal that she felt overwhelmed because it was only she now raising her four children and she was working two jobs just to meet her bills and responsibilities.
John’s mother had been so stressed out by her sudden change of circumstances that she no longer had time to pay attention to John’s siblings or him as she did before. In addition to being unaware of what was occurring in her children’s lives she had developed a severe case of depression. This led to her coming home and taking out her anger on her children. She started shouting at them or blaming them for her problems.
John not knowing how to relate or understand the sudden change in his mother became withdrawn and started to not eat due to a lack of an appetite. He blamed himself for his mother’s problems. John’s principal suggested that both his mother and her children seek aid and counseling to help them through their trying period.
Healing the Nation
All forms of abuse hurt! Child abuse seems to be one of the most destructive forms of abuse in our society today. For whatever form it may take child abuse does not just affect the present situation in our communities and nation but also our future stability and progress. Considering that many of the children that are abused grow to be abused adults, who carry the same scars of child hood within themselves. Unless they seek or are given help to heal those wounds incurred as a child, these same adults will practice or continue their same learnt behavior into adulthood. This will in turn affect their relationships, possibly work ethics and even the manner in which they raise and treat their own children.
What is child abuse?
Child Abuse has been defined as an act, or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker that results in the death, serious physical or emotional harm, Sexual Abuse, or exploitation of a child or which places the child in an imminent risk of serious harm.
Child abuse can occur in any number of ways including Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse and Neglect and Sexual Abuse. Today’s discussion focuses on Emotional Abuse and Neglect. Emotional Abuse and Neglect can go from mild to very extreme cases. However even a mild case of emotional abuse or neglect can greatly affect a child’s development and ability to perform.
CHILD ABUSE IS EVERYONE’S PROBLEM.
Emotional Child Abuse and Neglect
Emotional abuse is the repeated rejection and humiliation of a child, constant negative communication, withholding love and affection and the ultimate destruction of the child’s self-esteem.
Signs of emotional abuse can include physical problems resulting from stress, poor performance at school or low self-esteem.
The child may appear depressed, excessively passive or aggressive, experience sleep problems and have slow development.
Neglect is the failure, intentional or unintentional, of a parent or guardian to provide food, shelter, clothing, health care and education for a child.
Signs of neglect can include unkempt appearance, lack of medical or dental care, and developmental lags.
A child who is neglected may beg for food, steal, show lack of interest in anything, appear flat, tired and listless, and have constant fatigue.
We are one people created equal by God and for the purpose of loving and being loved. Let us work together to heal ourselves, families, communities, nation and world.
For more information check out our website at http://www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or contact us. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 328-0922. If you have, or someone you know, has been the victim of child abuse, you can also call Child Protective Services on 322-2POD, 326-1451, 326-0526 or 326-5560 or the Child Abuse Hotline: 322-2763
Just a reminder that the next meeting will be held on Saturday 21st September at the J Whitney Pinder Building on Collins Avenue, at 10am. Plans for the Night of Hope and Healing and the Fun Run Walk will be discussed.
Please call Glendina on 328.0922 for more information if needed.
Please see Deran Thompson’s report on the walkabout in Gambier where volunteers handed out brochures and information on the Crisis Centre to the people of Gambier.
On behalf of the Community Walkabout Committee and of course all victims of Domestic and Sexual Abuse, a big huge kudos and congratulations goes out to all BCC Volunteers and Friends who made it out on Saturday.
What a mega success it was. That is what “getting into the trenches” is all about.
We have set the bar high. Our next Walkabout which will be in Bain Town must be even more of a success than Gambier’s Walkabout. I think we have worked out the kinks and know all that is involved to make the Walkabout a reality.
I am still on a high from Saturday. It felt so good to get out into the community and place information into person’s hands and speak face to face with persons offering an alternative. An alternative of Peace.
Peace At Home…Peace in The Community
Please see note from Glendina, our Administrator. The Centre has recognized the Day to End Sexual Violence in the Caribbean since 2007.
On September 27th the Crisis Centre will host a Night Of Hope And Healing. During the night people will share stories, poetry, songs, visual art(print) and music as an expression of solidarity with our ongoing campaign to end sexual violence in the Caribbean. We will confirm a venue at a later date. However, we are asking for your assistance of a $10.00 donation towards this event. The funds will be used to pay for entertainment (DJ), rental of equipment and food.
Menu: Sandwiches, fruit platters, drinks and desserts.
Funds can be dropped off at Bahamas Woodworking Studio, located on Jerome Ave. & Chesapeake Road – Deran Thompson or at the Crisis Centre by September 13th, 2013.
Thanking you in advance for you kind assistance.