Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 05:08:59 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

The global scourge of sexual harassment & exploitation

By
09th-Nov-2017       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Siddharth Chatterjee :
When the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA's) Goodwill Ambassador Ashley Judd, detailed an incident involving the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein for The New York Times in their eyepopping investigation into decades of alleged sexual harassment, it came as a shock to many.
So now we know.
What started as a Hollywood scandal featuring a powerful man and a string of young women whose lives he had the power to shape has turned into a global shockwave revealing a staggering scale of harassment, misogyny and violence.
Frankly, though, the fact that this problem is too big to sweep under the frayed edges of the world's carpet has come as a surprise to only half the population. The other half knows what it is to have to fend off inappropriate remarks and unwelcome advances while fearing that doing so may jeopardise their careers.
Consider this. One in three women has experienced sexual harassment, violence, assault or rape in their lifetime. These statistics have been out there for years, but it took the Weinstein story to bring them into public consciousness.
The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women estimates that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives, with some national studies suggesting the figure may be as high as 70 per cent.
Around 120 million girls worldwide have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at, with current or former husbands, partners or boyfriends being the most common perpetrators. Around 700 million women alive today were married as children. Of those women, more than one in three-or some 250 million-were married before the age of 15.
Misogyny is deeply ingrained across the world. It feeds into a sense of entitlement by men that legitimises sexual harassment and sometimes violence. In some parts of the developing world the culture of entitlement and gender inequality is so pervasive that women themselves buy into it. The World Bank Gender Data Portal shows that 76.3 per cent of women in Mali and 92.1 per cent in Guinea believe a man is justified in beating his wife if she goes out without telling him, neglects the children, refuses sex, burns the food or argues with him.
From Hollywood via the corridors of power in Westminster to New Delhi and Nairobi, we face a gender inequality crisis on an epic scale. Sexual and gender-based exploitation, harassment and violence is a global issue.
Sometimes the sheer size of a problem may engender a sense of hopelessness. Many people feel that climate change or poverty, for example, are just too big to solve; that the individual is powerless in the face of such scale and complexity.
But this is not the case here. There are things we can and must do. After all, while much of gender inequality is institutionalised in social, economic and political structures, it is individual men and boys who exploit, intimidate, harass and assault women and girls.
There are five key frontiers for behaviour change.
The first is home. In too many families across the world boys are more valued than girls, and an attitude of 'boys will be boys' excuses much aggression, exploitation and injustice. Husbands must set an example of respect for their wives. Parents must raise their sons to value girls and to respect their rights and autonomy. A girl's body is her own. A boy has no right to comment on it or touch it uninvited, no matter what a girl might be wearing, or where she is.
The second front for action is education. Schools must teach respect and gender equality to both sexes. An organisation that does just this is No Means No Worldwide, which partners with local organisations in Kenya and Malawi to work in schools. Girls are taught assertiveness and boundary setting, which is backed up with physical self-defence training. But boys are a crucial part of the scheme too. Dramatic changes in boys' attitudes to girls and sex have been seen after only six sessions, and rape cases have fallen by 50% in some areas of Nairobi after the training.
The workplace is the third area for action. Victims of harassment or assault must be able to report their experiences without fear of retaliation on their careers. Workplace expectations and procedures must be clear and transparent, and action following a report of inappropriate behaviour must be equally clear and transparent. Impunity that has lingered too long, aided and abetted by patriarchy, must no longer prevail.
Fourth, when inappropriate behaviour becomes criminal behaviour, women must feel confident that reporting sexual crime will not add to their trauma. Police forces in many parts of the world have no special training in dealing with victims of sexual abuse and assault, and many do not take it seriously. They deserve to be treated with sensitivity and respect, and need to know that police will investigate their cases and arrest perpetrators.
Finally, justice must be unrelenting and exemplary, in pursuit of individuals who commit such acts, regardless of their rank or station.
Most survivors of sexual harassment, violence and exploitation are far from the glitz of Hollywood. Many are poor and ill-educated. Countless are growing up in cultures where their life chances are severely diminished simply by virtue of their gender and circumstance.
If the Weinstein story and its aftermath have shown us anything, it is that sexual exploitation and harassment is part of everyday experience for girls and women no matter where they live in the world.
(Siddharth Chatterjee is the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Justice delayed justice denied


FIVE years have elapsed after the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar which is known as deadliest garment-factory accident in history, as well as the deadliest structural failure in the modern human history. At least 1136 garment workers were killed on the spot and 1169 received severe injuries when the multi-storied ...

Cricket »

Shakib, Tamim to play for ICC World XI against West Indies


Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and top order batsman Tamim Iqbal have been included in the ICC World XI to play West Indies team in a one-off T20I match at Lord's on May 31.The match is being organised to raise fund for the reconstruction of stadiums that were damaged in ...

Sports »

(Left to right)) Uttam Mundy, CEO, PGTI; Arshi Haider, Chairman of bti; Siddikur Rahman, Professional Golfer; Asif Ibrahim, President, BPGA; Johnson Poh, Professional Golfer, Honey Baisoya, Professional Golfer unveiling the bti Open 2018 Trophy on Monday.


Entertainment »

Shilpa Shetty Kundra is Inspirational Celebrity of the Year


A successful wellness guru Shilpa Shetty Kundra is one of cinema’s most loved names. Her rise has nothing short of meteoric. This actress turned entrepreneur has to her credit successful yoga DVDs, a health and fitness channel is also a top-selling selling author of two books based on her mantra ...

Entertainment »

Richa Chadha’s new song look inspired by Parveen Babi’s Jawani Janeman


Actress Richa Chadha is considered to be the front-runner in Bollywood for experimenting with her looks and character in the films she does. Right from playing an old woman Nagma Khatoon in her first commercial success hit, Gangs of Wasseypur series to her soon to release film Daasdev, Richa has ...

City »

President Abdul Hamid receiving an annual audit report from a delegation led by Auditor and Comptroller General Masud Ahmed at Bangabhaban on Monday.


International »

Child rape case heightens India`s Hindu-Muslim divide


AFP, Jammu :The internet is being cut for hours on end in Jammu as authorities try to halt protests that have grown in the Kashmir winter capital since the rape-murder of an eight year old girl opened a new front in India's Hindu-Muslim divide.With near daily protests held across the ...

Editorial »

Govt must answer what happened to the force disappearances


MEMBERS of around 80 families joined a programme under the banner of "Mayer Daak", a platform of disappearance victims' family members, from across the country on April 21st, as per report of a local daily. Speaking at the event, supported by rights activists, family members slammed the state for denying ...

Entertainment »

Alia Bhatt spies on movie goers


Raazi trailer was launched recently. Last week, in partnership with FB & PVR, Alia spied on theatre audiences watching the trailer on the theatre screen and appeared on a two-way facebook LIVE in front of them and interacted with the audience as they could both see each other. This was ...

Football »

Neymar to be at peak of powers at World Cup: Ronaldinho


Xinhua, Rio De Janeiro :Brazil legend Ronaldinho has backed compatriot Neymar to make a full recovery from foot surgery in time for the World Cup in Russia.Neymar has been sidelined since suffering a cracked fifth metatarsal in his right foot while playing for Paris Saint-Germain in late February.He underwent surgery ...

International »

Iran threatens to `vigorously` resume enrichment if US quits deal


AFP, New York : Iran warned Saturday it is ready to "vigorously" resume nuclear enrichment if the United States ditches the 2015 nuclear deal, and said further "drastic measures" are being considered in response to a US exit.Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in New York that Iran ...

Football »

Chanathip Songkrasin (left) of Consadole Sapporo and Kazuki Nagasawa (right) of Urawa Reds fight for the ball during their J1 League match at Saitama Stadium in Saitama, north of Tokyo on Saturday.


Sports »

Kvitova, Pliskova give Czechs 2-0 lead over Germany


AFP, Stuttgart :Victories by Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova gave the Czech Republic a commanding 2-0 lead over hosts Germany in their Fed Cup semi-final on Saturday. Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova needed just over an hour for an emphatic 6-3, 6-2 win over Julia Goerges at the Porsche Arena in ...

Entertainment »

Salman, Katrina all set to leave for tour to USA in June


Salman Khan is one of Bollywood's biggest superstars and over the years he has made a brand out of himself. Everything from his dance moves, clothes, accessories to his attitude and body language is a rage among his fans. Salman was recently proven guilty in the 1998 Blackbuck poaching case. ...

Entertainment »

Shahid to shoot for Batti Gul Meter Chalu


Shree Narayan Singh's Batti Gul Meter Chalu is a social drama that depicts the contradiction between long hours of power cuts and the ironically high electricity bills that dig a hole in the common man's pocket. It narrates the story of a man's fight against power distribution companies. Shahid Kapoor ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news