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Sexual harassment

Sir: Sexual harassment is a taboo topic in a conservative society like ours where most of the people don’t prefer to talk on such issues openly. But one should realize the seriousness and gravity of the issue that is on the rise in our country. Most universities in Pakistan have co-education, therefore, instances of sexual harassment are becoming increasingly common. However, girls often don’t complain or bring up these topics at home, much less in universities, due to the restrictive environment or due to their shy natures. In universities there are hardly any policies concerning sexual harassment. It becomes very difficult for girls to deal with such cases and work at a public place freely. For teachers and students alike, institutions have a responsibility to maintain a workplace that is free of any kind of sexual harassment. There are a number of steps that one can take to reduce the risk of sexual harassment occurring in a workplace. Adoption of a clear sexual harassment policy is the first step. That policy should define sexual harassment; state very clearly that under no circumstances would such an act be accepted; state that the institution will discipline or fire any wrongdoers; set out a clear procedure for filing sexual harassment complaints; state that the institution will fully investigate any complaint that is received, and state that the institution will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who complains about it. Universities and all other institutes should make such policies and fully implement them to prevent crimes such as sexual harassment and rape.

NATALIA ISLAM
Karachi

Daily Times

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