By Aisha Tamba
The President of the Gambia Press Union yesterday called on women journalists to report sexual harassment when it occurs at their work places.
Speaking at a sensitisation workshop on sexual harassment policy for the media, Sheriff Bojang Jr said: “Often times, the problem is because of economic reasons. Victims do not want to report sexual harassment at work places because it is often done by their superiors or colleagues and they are afraid to report it because they do not want to lose their jobs. So many people are keeping quiet and going through that pain and trauma.”
He said the issue of sexual harassment at work places has been a “priority to the GPU… so that anytime someone goes through sexual harassment, you do something about it by reporting the matter.”
He stressed his disappointment with some remarks about a sexual assault bill on Tuesday at the National Assembly.
He explained: “I never saw that coming yesterday. I was at parliament and there was a bill about sexual assault. Not one or two but three lawmakers made very outrageous comments which show that this country is far behind compared to the rest of world.
“One NAM stood up and said he will not condone sexual assault but he queried about short skirts and the kind of dresses women wear and no one showed any surprise among his colleagues there. Anywhere else in the world, that would be the biggest news and that person or law makers will be pressured into resigning,” he said.
The President of Women Journalists’ Association of The Gambia, Sarjo Camara said the policy is not a witch-hunt against men, but it will address the unacceptable act in the media industry.
“All complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously, treated with urgency, respect and in accordance with law,” she promised.
The two-day sensitisation is organised by the Gambia Press Union, through the Women Journalists’ Association of The Gambia, implementing the project, entitled ‘Breaking the gender barriers’ in the media. The 12-month project is funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).