Friday, July 9, 2010

Suddenly came across this:

The Electric New Paper :


Victims should speak out

WE REFER to your report on the sexual harassment incidents which took place at the Youth Olympic Games Chef de Mission Seminar.

01 April 2010

WE REFER to your report on the sexual harassment incidents which took place at the Youth Olympic Games Chef de Mission Seminar.

The fact that there were quite a few incidents in a short period indicates that the reported sexual harassment incidents are not uncommon at events like this.

This is confirmed by Ms Annabelle Pennefather, who also said that she would usually brief and warn her volunteers about such matters.

Workplace sexual harassment is prevalent in Singapore but many perpetrators get away with it simply because most victims do not report it.

In this case, it is noted that the CEP Champions were not in an employment situation. They were in a project situation and thus did not have as much to lose as in an employment situation. And that may be why a few of them did speak out.

Record of harassing staff

The report 'Be my special designer girlfriend' (The New Paper on Sunday, 21 Mar) was significant because the perpetrator had a record of harassing staff explicitly but they seem to have tolerated it as they were in his employment. The whistle-blower was someone who had not yet started work there.

This goes to show how difficult it is for victims of workplace sexual harassment to report it. And if we do not start seriously spreading the message that this is unacceptable behaviour and start taking action against perpetrators, harassment will continue unpunished.

The CEP Champions involved were not shy wallflowers. They were specially chosen for their leadership qualities. Yet, it was clear that they found it hard to put their foot down and be assertive.

They declined invitations and some walked off, but it seemed that no one actually said 'Stop! You are making me uncomfortable' or 'Stop! This is inappropriate behaviour'. This is the recommended response to put the perpetrator on notice that his actions are not welcome.

The lack of specific legislation, a code of conduct and a strong culture prohibiting workplace sexual harassment makes it extremely difficult for victims to take more assertive action.

Moving forward, we would urge Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee to:

1. conduct and investigate the various incidents that have been reported, including investigating whether or not any of these incidents involving physical harassment were reported to any officials, and if not, why not;

2. establish a clear code of conduct for delegates and participants as to what constitutes inappropriate behaviour;

3. train the volunteers on how they should handle such incidents, that is, to say no firmly so that the perpetrator knows that the conduct is unwelcome; and

4. establish processes for people to report harassment incidents and for dealing with such incidents.


Really what the hell man. Why got all this kind of people? Feel like volunteering for AWARE but need to join as a member first. There is a $40 membership fee (=.=). Am considering though. Wanna do some good. Haha~

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