KOTA SAMARAHAN, 3 Jan : Any unwanted sexual attention which is offensive and humiliating done verbally, physically or psychologically is sexual harrassment. However, the term “harrasment” has yet to be defined legally while, such a topic is deemed ‘taboo’ in the society.
Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) Committee Member, Kimberley Tan stressed there are still limitations and inequalities in terms of human rights towards protection which can be further improved as she holds true to the belief of ‘survivors’ rather than ‘victims.’
“The Anti-Sexual Harrassment Bill has just been tabled , it went through the third reading in July and we are still waiting for the bill to be tabulated and being defined, this is going to be a long journey.”
“Prior to the tabulation, the only legal law to protect the survivors comes from the Employment Act 1985, so if you are a housewife, househusband or student, the law does not protect you,” she said this during the “Unspoken Soul” Awareness Campaign held at the Faculty of Language and Communication, in UNIMAS, on Tuesday.
She also pointed out steps to be taken as a survivor and preventive measures towards the immoral act.
“The more information that we educate about this, the more we have power, however, the most common question is how we go about on this, or what happens?
“If you feel like you are sexually harassed, go to the police station, make a report if you want to take this further and please keep a black and white copy of your statement in the case of making the report just for a statement purpose,” she added.
Tan also disclosed that students have a support system such as counsellors or teachers, or they can convey their concerns anonymously to the university’s confession page, as for those working they can confront their Human Resource Department, to seek help, and demand a restraining order towards the perpetrators.
“EPO stands for Emergency Protection Order, a restraining order enforced right away, banning the person from making into contact with you.”
“For survivors of sexual violence, which is, any form of penetration, despite your situation, avoid taking a shower.
“Go directly to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department in the hospital, you head your way to the One Stop Crisis Centre, you can patch up any wounds and the police and Welfare Department (JKM) will visit you,” she stressed.
Meanwhile , Unspoken Soul Campaign president Michelle Ethel reiterated that the campaign is spearheaded to raise awareness and better understanding on sexual harassment issue in campus.
“We are opening a platform for people to speak up more on the issue,” she pointed out. – TVS
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