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How to Prevent Sexual Harassment

25 Jul

Sexual harassment is defined by law as any unwelcome or undesired sexual advance or action resulting in an uncomfortable environment. While this can happen in private lives, it is more often associated with workplace environments, since individuals are unable to remove themselves from the situation. Sexual harassment is prohibited from the workplace and each of the 50 states have anti-harassment laws in place.


In the workplace

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    Sexual harassment policies

    • Employees should be aware of the company’s anti-sexual harassment stance. They should also be given examples of sexual harassment so they understand the nature of the policy.
    • Explain that such actions will not be tolerated, nor will retaliation against a person who has complained about such harassment.
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    Organize lessons

    • Hold annual seminars to review sexual harassment policies. Explain what constitutes such harassment and what will be done if sexual harassment is alleged.
    • Make these meetings are mandatory so everyone in the company is able to understand sexual harassment policies and consequences.
    • Training supervisors is especially important. In many instances, these individuals will be the first line of sexual harassment protection. They should be skilled in how to handle cases of alleged harassment.
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    Keep an eye on the workplace

    • Ask employees if they have any concerns. Make sure nothing that can be interpreted as sexual harassment has been seen or heard.
    • Take appropriate action if sexual harassment is suspected or experienced.
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    Create an anti-sexual harassment environment

    • Handle allegations of sexual harassment with tact and respect. The investigation should always be handled professionally and no complaints should be brushed off.
    • Employers can actually be prosecuted for failing to investigate harassment and taking appropriate action. Make sure that employees can feel safe and comfortable when they are working.
    In private lives
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    Act confidently

    • Weak individuals are often targeted as victims. By acting and speaking in strong ways, individuals take themselves out of many situations where harassment may occur.
    • Let others know sexual harassment will not be tolerated. If a person makes a lewd comment, ask them not to. Keep your position on the matter clear.
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    Dress and act modestly

    • It is important to understand that some people put themselves, unknowingly, in questionable situations. They may be interpreted as welcoming such advances by dressing or acting inappropriately.
    • It is never the victim’s fault if sexual harassment occurs, but it is important to distance yourself as much as possible from situations where such actions can take place.
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    Keep appropriate company

    • Do not maintain relationships with individuals around whom you are uncomfortable. Distance yourself from individuals who seem to be preoccupied with thoughts, words and actions of a sexual nature.
    • Find friends that can be trusted and appreciated. Have things in common, such as senses of humor and jobs.



Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh

13 Jul

Eve Teasing is a common phenomenon in Bangladesh. Every other day, women come across some sort of eve teasing incidents that leave a deep psychological scar on them. This is a pathetic state of affairs faced by women of different age. The effect of eve teasing in women`s life is very painful. We are observing this cruel fact every day in our society; every single daily newspaper must have this news almost every day. This is well known to all of us but the question is how much we know about the laws related to eve teasing? The answer is very little. So in this write up, only the laws related to eve teasing have been mentioned.

Just a few years after Bangladesh`s liberation, the government established the Ministry of Women ands Affairs. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance of 1976 first addressed eve-teasing directly. Section 76 of the ordinance defines women teasing as, “willful and indecent exposure of one`s person in any street or public place within sight of, and in such manner as may be seen by, any woman, whether from within any house or building or not, or willful pressing or obstructing any woman in a street or public place or insulting or annoying any woman by using indecent language or making indecent sounds, gestures, or remarks in any street or public place”. Women-teasing is punishable with a maximum one year of imprisonment, or with a maximum two thousand Taka fine, or with both.

That was for the first time, in Bangladesh, a law other than the Penal Code addressed the teasing offence against women. However, the term ‘eve teasing’ is still not used properly. Likewise, the other five metropolitan police acts/ordinances made similar provisions to penalize the offence of teasing women. However, these laws have no jurisdiction outside their respective metropolitan areas that makes the offence exclusively a local and urban phenomenon. Special laws penalizing the offence of teasing women having nationwide jurisdiction was yet to be passed.

Later, in 2000 the government enacted tougher law to protect the vulnerable women and children of the country from various typical offences. The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000 came down heavily on the oppressors of the women.

In section 10(1), the law defines sexual torture as, if a man touches the sexual organ or any other organ of a woman or of a child by any of his organs or by any other objects with a view to fulfilling his illegal sexual desire, such act of the man will be termed as sexual torture”. This definition, in fact, includes the attempt of rape or outraging the modesty of a woman by actual physical contact. The law punishes the offender with rigorous imprisonment of minimum 3 and maximum 10 years and also an indefinite amount of fine.

In section 10(2), the law defines sexual harassment as, “if a man, with a view to fulfilling his illegal sexual desire outrage a woman’s modesty or makes erotic gesture, such act of the man will amount to sexual harassment”. A rigorous imprisonment ranging from 2 to 7 years and additionally an indefinite amount of fine is rewarded for this offence. According to this definition sexual harassment is an offence that is committed by not coming with actual physical contact to the victim.
However, the section 10(2) was abrogated when the law was last amended in 2003. A new provision has been added under section 9(ka) of the present law that states, if a woman is forced to commit suicide as a direct consequence of somebody’s willful dishonor/sexual harassment/ assault, then the offender will be liable to a maximum of ten years and a minimum of five years of imprisonment. The amendment actually denied the remedy of sexual harassment of non-contact nature.

After the amendment of The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000 in 2003, there remained no legal provisions in the country addressing directly the problem of sexual harassment. But, newspapers bring out pathetic reports on sexual harassment every now and then. In this crucial situation, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) filed a Writ Petition (No. 5916 of 2008) to the High Court Division. The Honorable Court, after examining the pros and cons of the problem issued their Judgment on 14.5.2009 giving the government an eleven-point directive which will fill up the legislative vacuum in the nature of law. In these directives the Court suggested a detailed definition of sexual harassment that included all other existing definitions of non-contact sexually connoting offences. It also incorporated the modern means of erotic insults against the women that are prevalent in our present age of information technology. However, though the ingredients of the offence of eve teasing are easily distinguishable from the order, the court did not use the term eve teasing. Actually, eve teasing, though commonly used and understood a term in Bangladesh, its legal definition is yet to be established.

The government has already started the process of fulfilling the directives of the judgment. Complaint Committees have been formed in many institutions according to the decretive no-9 of the judgment. Besides this, to combat this problem the government of Bangladesh has authorized ‘Mobile courts in order to take legal action against those who are convicted of stalking and harassing a woman. That person would be suffering one year in jail or pay a fine of about Tk. 5000 or both.  And it was definitely appreciated that on June 13, 2010 the Education ministry of Bangladesh announced June 13 as an `Eve Teasing Protection Day.`

Sources:  The Penal Code 1860
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance, 1976
The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000
The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2003(amendment)
Internet edition of Daily Newspapers, Weekly TabloidsImage

Which things are included in sexual harassment?

4 Jul

Sexual harassment includes many things…..

  • Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.
  • Unwanted pressure for sexual pressure.
  • Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
  • Unwanted sexual looks or gestures.
  • Unwanted letters. Telephone calls or materials of a sexual nature.
  • Unwanted pressure for dates.
  • Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.
  • Referring to an adult as a girl, hunk, doll, babe or honey.
  • Whistling at someone.
  • Cat calls.
  • Sexual comments.
  • Turning work discussion into sexual topics.
  • Sexual innuendos or story.
  • Personal questions about personal or sexual life.
  • Sexual comments about a person`s clothing, anatomy or looks.
  • Kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips.
  • Telling lie`s or spreading rumors about a person`s personal life.eve_teasing_rape_1356594245_540x540
  • Neck message.
  • Touching an employee`s clothing, hair, or body.
  • Giving personal gifts.
  • Hanging around a person.
  • Standing close or brushing up against a person.
  • Looking a person up and down. (Elevator eyes).
  • Staring at someone.
  • Sexually suggestive signals.
  • Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements.
  • Facial expression, winking, throwing kisses, or licking lips.

What is sexual harassment?

3 Jul

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

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