• Thursday, Feb 21, 2019
  • Last Update : 11:20 am

Sexual harassment has no place in society

  • Published at 12:00 am February 10th, 2019
Sexual Harassment
Photo: BIGSTOCK

It is the lack of punishment which emboldens repeat-offenders

The pervasiveness of sexual harassment -- in our university campuses, our workplaces, and our homes -- is one of the ugliest realities of our society, and an area in which, sadly, we have made very little progress over the years.

No doubt, we are making great strides economically, but the fact remains, women of this country still find themselves facing harassment and feeling unsafe every single day, whether out on the street, on public transport, or attending class.

Statistics of sexual assault and rape are through the roof, and even those numbers are most likely underreported, as our system does not make it easy for women to report such crimes committed against them.

On the positive side, as late as it may be, it is good to see the University Grants Commission finally take steps on High Court guidelines which were issued some nine years ago regarding creating a mechanism to monitor and address sexual harassment in university campuses. 

It is unlikely that the mechanisms currently in place will be enough to stop sexual harassment, so these should be treated as the first step only.

What we really require, not just in university campuses, but for all offenders, is a strong legal mechanism in place that does not let sexual offenders off the hook; it is the lack of punishment which emboldens repeat-offenders and would-be harassers, and that is a culture that needs to end.

In the long term, in addition to zero tolerance for sexual harassment and sexual violence, we need to educate young men and women at all levels that sexual harassment is never OK, and help is there for anyone who needs it.