How to identify Sexual Harassment at Workplace

We can touch upon the debate of social media being an asset or evil for our society some other time but the recent #MeToo campaign has proven that if done for the right reasons, nothing spreads your message across like digital platforms do.

Sexual Harassment is a very sensitive topic to say the least, especially in Pakistan. It’s more of a taboo. People are led to believe there’s a thin line between harassment and ‘having fun’, ‘joking around’ and other such meaningless juxtaposition. But the fact of the matter is, the lines are not blurred at all. They’re very clear!

Oftentimes, due to the non-serious way these matters are handled in our society, victims don’t even realize that they have been abused; they are either too scared or ashamed to admit. It’s also a sad reality that if a victim does raise voice, it gets lost amidst all the noise created by Log Kya Kahaingay!

 Workplace harassment manifests in many ways. It could be verbal, written, in person or online. It is imperative to understand that sexual harassment is not just making direct advances, it is demonstrated through many other actions as well, including:

  • Asking personal sexual questions directly from someone – about their history or preferences
  • Making lewd jokes or inappropriate comments directly at someone or generally in the workplace
  • Sending/sharing/showing sexually inappropriate graphics, videos, links with co-workers
  • Making sexual references and gestures
  • Sending written notes/emails which are sexually suggestive
  • Staring at co-workers in an inappropriate way which makes them uncomfortable
  • Putting up sexual posters or pictures
  • Touching in a way that is inappropriate

These are just some of the instances which one can count as falling into the category of sexual harassment.

It is imperative that such behavior is not ignored. The victim should:

  • Keep the record of any inappropriate treatment
  • Express their distaste and disapproval straightaway – Never make the culprit feel like they can get away with it
  • Don’t ignore the advancement as a one-time thing
  • Know your company’s policies and report the harassment
  • If you are unsure of the policies, speak to someone you trust and get guidance

Raise your voice –  it may seem scary or useless at the time but always remember, your security begins with you.



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