By Olaolu Fawole

Many may not know, but beyond the beautiful and charming looks of some women are tales of encounters they felt not too comfortable to share.

One of them is sexual harassment. Quietly, many female workers are sexually harassed in their places of work.

Unfortunately, due to customs and traditions among other factors, many have suffered in silence nursing the wounds alone.

Such reasons may include fear of losing their jobs and the stigma of reporting the acts may have on their lives.

At an automobile assembly plant in the United States, four women on behalf of other female workers filed a lawsuit saying sexual harassment at the plant was out of control.

According to them, supervisors and co-workers sexually harassed them.

In Ibadan, Radio Nigeria also caught up with some women who had experienced such;

Woman 1: “I had an experience with a senior officer who called me into his office. He tried to make some moves. He wanted to touch me and I had to stop him. Since that day, I avoided any form of intimacy between us”.
Woman 2: “When the person who was harassing me was taking it too far, I had to tell someone but when no step was taken, I had to quit”.
Woman 3: “When I was in search of a job, there was this company I went to. The manager there was very funny, telling me to use what I have to get what I wanted. I had to leave the company because I knew even if I gave him what he wanted, he would do the same thing to another girl coming”.

The women affirmed that the development has contributed to low productivity in workplaces as it promotes mediocrity.

Section 224 of the Criminal Code Act in Nigeria.

According to the nigerian law; “procuring defilement of woman by threats or fraud, or administering drugs. Any person who‐(1) by threats or intimidation of any kind procures a woman or girl, to have unlawful carnal connection with a man either in Nigeria or elsewhere; or(2) by any false pretence procures a woman or girl to have unlawful carnal connection with a man either in Nigeria or elsewhere; or(3) administers to a woman or girl, or causes a woman or girl, to take, any drug or other thing with intent to stupefy or overpower her in order to enable any man, whether a particular man or not, to have unlawful carnal knowledge of her, is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for two years. A person cannot be convicted of any of the offences defined in this section upon the uncorroborated testimony of one witness“.

A Psychologist, Dr. Bayo Olagoke, identified stress, depression and suicidal thoughts as some of the psychological effects of sexual harassment on women.

Dr. Olagoke advised female workers to be hardworking, self-confident and avoid soliciting unnecessary favours from their male colleagues.

He equally, enjoined employers of labour to include in their staff regulation handbooks penalties for members of staff who indulge in sexual harassment.

A legal practitioner, Mr Tayo Salami pointed out that victims of sexual harassment must be armed with enough evidence against culprits.

Mr Salami explained that in some cases, the culprits and the victims could have been in a love relationship before they parted ways.

The legal practitioner called on civil societies to intensify campaigns on the rights of women and the need for them to know that when convicted, those guilty of the offence would be sentenced to a jail term of 2 years.

Other respondents on the battle against sexual harassment on female workers were of the opinion that discrimination against victims of sexual abuse should also be addressed so as not to have everlasting negative effects on the victims.

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