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NO WOMAN OR MAN DESERVES TO BE ABUSED

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Sir,
 
Women constitute one half of humanity and they are the pivots around which the family unit moves. They are looked upon as nourishers, providers, counsellors, developers and sharers of all the joys of the family. From ancient times, gradually, the concept of working women came into existence. In addition to the domestic sphere, women have taken professional roles outside their homes, this evolved into dual roles of employed women and homemakers.

Sexual harassment is a serious irritating factor that renders women’s involvement anywhere unsafe and affects their dignity. Generally, sexual harassment is a sexually oriented conduct that may endanger the survivor and undermine the survivor’s personal dignity. It may manifest itself physically or psychologically. Its milder and subtle forms may imply verbal innuendo, inappropriate affectionate gestures or propositions for dates and sexual favours.

It is surprising that many nations have no policy on sexual harassment and framework where survivor can report the malpractice. For a policy to be effective, it has to be applied consistently without looking at precedence and if wrongdoing is found, there have to be consequences that are disclosed not only to the person who complained, but to the entire nation. This would send a message that the anticipated policies will not only be on paper, but in action as well.

Healthy

Healthy relationships, in all their wonderful diversity, are based on concepts of open communication and respect for each other’s autonomy and connectedness. In healthy relationships, people cultivate each other’s worth, as well as demonstrate willingness to reach a middle ground and to contribute to the betterment of the other. A country can support healthy relationships by helping its people improve their skills around practicing active listening, empathy and calmness focusing on the other’s happiness and fostering social connection and mutual respect.

While countries must investigate and respond to incidents in an efficient and consistent way, and often put out fires, they would do well to focus more time and energy on prevention and education. The country needs to find the time and resources to prevent those fires before they begin. No woman or man deserves to be abused. The abuser is the one who should take responsibility for the violence occurring, not the survivor. One of the most frequent human rights violations in the country nowadays is violence against women. There is a large amount of evidence that women are subjected to sexual harassment, significantly more often than men. The situation becomes worse if a woman is economically or socially dependent on the abuser, which is the case in most situations.

Eswatini should take precautions and create policies against sexual harassment. The kingdom must have primary prevention strategies that are understood as those that aim to stop sexual harassment before it starts by addressing the social determinants of the problem, rather than by responding to the problem after it has occurred or seeking to minimise its impact. There is growing evidence which demonstrates that the primary prevention of violence against women is an effective strategy to reduce the significant health, economic and social burdens associated with this problem.

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