Violence against women at the workplace does not only affect women productivity at work but extends to the social and private spaces where women fail to effectively participate in community issues and in their private spaces. The trauma associated with workplace sexual abuse and exploitation strips the survivors of their fundamental human rights and freedoms such as right to personal dignity; right to safety and security; right to privacy; and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment; among other issues. Some women who have experienced sexual harassment at work find it difficult to participate in public activities thus affecting their enjoyment of the freedom of assembly and association. Sexual harassment effects linger more and have ripple effects on the survivors and the communities.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) joins the progressive international world to commemorate 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence which is being held under the theme “End Gender Based Violence in the world of work”. Realizing that statistics point to a woman raped every hour in Zimbabwe, MIHR calls on corporates and organizations to go beyond having policies protecting women against sexual harassment.
The workplace should be a place of safety for the women and it is incumbent upon companies, organizations and institutions to go beyond having just written sexual harassment policies but ensure that sexual harassment at the workplace is nipped from the bud and there are safe and secure spaces for women to report and be protected from extended abuse.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights is an independent human rights watchdog that exists to influence the nonviolent promotion and protection of human rights in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe.
The General Secretary
Mr Benedict Sibasa