Help with harassment

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    JOHANNESBURG – Javu Baloyi advises women on how they can go about reporting cases related to gender based violence at work or home.

    In light of Women’s Month, Midrand Reporter approached the Commission of Gender Equality  to share information on gender-based harassment in the workplace.

    At various seminars and conferences for women, one of the major problems women voiced was that of being uncomfortable in the workplace due to sexual harassment which included requests by male bosses to sleep with them in exchange for promotions.

    Javu Baloyi, spokesperson for the commission said there were various cases of sexual harassment that they dealt with every day.

    “They range from maintenance, inheritance, gender-based violence, sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of gender [this could relate to promotions] and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

    He explained how women could go about reporting this harassment without putting their jobs on the line, “Every employee is protected by the Basic Condition of Employment Act. As long as women follow the law in reporting their matters, they cannot necessary lose their jobs.

    “The issue will be ventilated accordingly and if the victim is not happy, the matter can be escalated to other institutions like the Commission for Gender Equality.

    “People can also use various toll-free numbers and that of the commission’s toll-free number which is 0800 007 709 to report the matter anonymously. The commission will weigh [up] the matter if it is gender related. If so, then an investigation will ensue.”

    Baloyi also advised women on the procedures they should follow to ensure that their complaints were heard.

    “Women must start with internal processes available to them first. They must ensure they record various encounters that will assist with their cases.

    “They should inform someone they trust about issues happening to them… it is very difficult to prove issues of bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment, hence most women end up withdrawing cases for fear of secondary victimisation.

    “Remember, it is not what you can say during a hearing but rather what you can prove.

    “Furthermore, women can can log into www.cge.org.za or call 011 403 7182 to lodge any gender-related case.”

    Source: Midrand reporter