On Tuesday evening, I went to Gender Forum hosted by Heinrich Böll Stiftung at Alliance Francaise in the CBD.
It was a last minute decision but lately, I have been trying to say yes to things I would usually say no to. And it was such a good decision.
The discussion revolved around sexual harassment in the workplace, what happens after, what the Kenyan law states, what policies organisations should have in place and various other matters. And I couldn’t help but think about my life in formal employment and how such a forum would have really helped me when I was young and starting my career off and even later. I have worked in places with the most detailed human resources policy but with scant details on how to deal with sexual harassment.
Even at my last job, my immediate supervisor would send me inappropriate messages and when I escalated the matter to his supervisor she told me to “handle it” which I did by blocking him on whatsapp. There are many issues that women face when they are in employment and most often, the system doesn’t aid them in ensuring their safety.
I have been asking myself what systems can be set up to provide support to victims of sexual harassment. I am still thinking about it actually because it is something I feel that has become accepted and shouldn’t be.
I must say that I was quite glad to see young girls – some who seemed to still be in University- attending the forum and engaging with this topic and I am only writing this to remind myself and whoever reads this to be kind and empathetic, to be a support system for someone who goes sexual harassment/sexual violence.