By Aramata Jatta
Sarjo Camara President of Women Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (WOJAG) has recently said that the Sexual Harassment Policy is not a witch-hunt against men, but instead it will address the unacceptable act in the media industry by breaking the culture of silence through reporting of perpetrators.
She made this remark at the opening of a two-day sensitization forum on the sexual harassment policy for the media organised by the Women Journalists’ Association of The Gambia which brought together journalist from different media outlets.
The sensitization was part of a twelve month project which was secured by WOJAG through the Gambia Press Union with funding from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the tune of $22,000.
Sexual harassment is an act of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, physical or virtual conduct of a sexual nature.
It occurs when a decision affecting that individual is made because the individual submitted to or rejected the unwelcome conduct or the unwelcome conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or abusive work environment.
Sarjo alluded that the objective of the policy seeks to serve as a framework for prevention, correction and protection from sexual harassment and it also aims to promote gender equality.
She vowed that all complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously, treated with urgency, respect and in accordance with confidence and no one will be victimized for making a sexual harassment complaint
‘’ I urge everyone to critically scrutinize the document and share information as the document belongs to all of us we all should take ownership’’ she concludes.
According to Sheriff Bojang Jr President of the Gambia Press Union attributes sexual harassment issues to economic reasons. He asserted that victims do not want to report sexual harassment at work places because it is often done by their superiors or colleagues and they are afraid to report it as they do not want to lose their jobs.
‘’ So many people are keeping quiet and going through that pain and trauma’’
Mr. Bojang affirmed his Union’s commitment in leading the crusade against sexual harassment in work places describing it as a priority to the GPU.
Sexual harassment policies does not exist in organizations and institutions and it’s not generally reported at police or heard in courts due to the kind of society we have in the world of male dominance , maintaining of status quo, culture of silence and of cause Islam not that Islam promotes sexual harassment but religion is misinterpreted in favor of men.