We don’t talk enough about workplace sexual harassment, and because we don’t talk about it, we don’t know what to do when it happens. It’s important to be properly armed with knowledge as a working woman in Nigeria.
That’s why we’re sharing some tips on what to do when you face workplace sexual harassment. Get out your pen and papers ladies, let’s get writing.
Know what sexual harassment is: be able to spot it from afar.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which makes you feel offended, uncomfortable, intimidated or humiliated. It could be comments about appearance, body or clothes, indecent remarks, questions or comments about your sex life and so much more.
The moment it happens, make sure you inform them that you are not comfortable with it:
It’s kind of sad that we as women need to keep fighting for our freedom. But it is what it is. The key element of sexual harassment is the fact that the conduct is unwelcome. So make it clear that you’re uncomfortable.
When it happens, document it.
Just keep a record of when it happened, where it happened, how it happened. I know that this is difficult, but try your best to keep this information, because you’ll need it.
Do not blame yourself!
If you need to rant, rant
Some companies have policies on how to report sexual harassment in the workplace. Check the employee handbook. If there’s no such policy, talk to a senior colleague, bring it up with HR or talk to management.
If nothing happens and the behaviour persists, you may have to quit and press charges:
This sounds “easy” in theory, but it’s very hard especially in a country like Nigeria. But it’s worth trying, if it’ll help your mental health. Get a lawyer and save yourself..
We do hope that Nigeria one day becomes a conducive place for working women, but now, we will continuously fight the patriarchy on our own terms until we defeat it. Let us know if we missed an important tip!