By Timayo Ogunro
When does a compliment turn into harassment? Friendly jokes to being taken out to dinner- several signs can lead to inappropriate advances in the workplace.
A member of the Nigerian male working-class demographic, I myself, am guilty of the occasional inappropriate innuendo with my female counterparts- I like to think of it as part of my boyish charm – does that make me a sexual predator? Or just a guy with an extremely poor sense of humour?
The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace is evident in our society, but as a proud affiliate of MAS (Men Are Scum), I am stepping atop a land mine by saying, “women share part of the blame”.
Now you may be asking yourself, how does someone allow themselves suffer the effects of sexual harassment- can you not just say no? I mean the signs leading up to the issue must have been manifesting themselves- the inapprpriate innuendos or the uncomfortable hugs that last a little too long.
Before we go any further, it is extremely important to understand that within the confines of one’s workplace- the continuous unsolicited sexual advancement on a colleague is not classified as sexual harassment but sexual assault.
In his 1964 novel, Arrow of God, beloved African icon and scholar, Chinua Achebe clearly wrote, “when a handshake travels beyond the elbow, we all know it has turned to another thing”. This clearly illustrates the basis of when a friendly gesture goes too far.
When the Accelerate familia envisioned the idea of creating a blog space, the aim was not simply to enlighten you on the latest news and trending topics in the wide world of entertainment, but to cover various subjects that affect people in their personal life- and help those affected. Nigerian women still report cases of sexual assault and domestic violence, but as a result of the fear of losing their jobs and livelihood, many still choose to bear the pain of silence.
In a world flooded with female empowerment and gender equality, there should be no woman that is afraid to speak her truth. However, in a nation like Nigeria where the voices of certain sects of the public are grievously overlooked, countless women live life in a state of fear- fear of what if…?
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