Sexual harassment in the society is a problem that mostly affects the women and young girls. However, at times, sexual harassments extend to young boys who are unable to defend themselves and fight for their rights. Incidences of sexual harassments are mainly common among the women in the society. It is important to understand that sexual harassment has severe effects on people’s lives and their well-being. People often blame the cases on sexual harassment on the dressing style of women. However, while people often blame women for sexual harassment based on the way they dress in public, the problem actually has to do with men’s attitude, and it won’t change until we perceive women differently and embrace their different modes of dressing.
Society’s Perception on Women
The problem on sexual harassment is often blamed on women’s mode of dressing which men perceive as provocative. From Qahera’s comics, a scene is reflected where a man who is supposed to help a rape victim blames her for the way she was dressed stating “but really, my dear, you must look at the way you’re dressed…. your clothes”. Women often dress in mini-skirts and mini-dresses in public places which are considered as immodest and inappropriate as depicted on Qahera’s comics (Mona Baker 110). Dressing in short skirts and dresses is a point of provocation for most men and a main contributor towards rape cases in the society. However, it does not mean that women who dress in what people perceive as decent and appropriate will not face sexual harassments. Presenting the blame on victims presents a danger in stopping the problem (Mary Boland 23).
Qahera’s comics depict situations where men harass women even though the women have dressed appropriately. The comics have mainly focused on Egypt where the cases of sexual harassments are high and there is a need to reduce the incidents. According to the comics, women can step up and fight for their rights through protecting themselves against persons who sexually harass them in public places. The scene where Qahera assaults a man who harassed a woman shows that women have the power to ensure that the incidents do not occur to them. Qahera states “never bother another woman again” then later takes the men and hangs them at the police station writing “these men are perverts” showing that if the police cannot protect the women, they will fight for their own rights (Mona Baker 322).
According to Sophia Sepulveda, sexual harassment might lead to rape cases or battering of victims as seen from Qahera’s comics. The attitude of men towards women in the society is the main contributor to the increasing sexual harassment cases in the society. The Muslim women in the middle-east countries are undermined and seen as inferior beings. The Muslim women wearing hijab’s still face sexual harassment in their societies. Qahera encourages the women to speak against people who undermine them. Qahera protects the Muslim women against western feminists who want to take advantage of their situations. She tells them “you have constantly undermined women. You seem unable to understand we do not need your help” (Mona Baker 240).
Men need to change the attitude they have towards women looking at them as lesser beings in the society. It is important for men to look at women as their equals and treat them with the respect they deserve. The men who sexually harass the women often look to achieve a purpose which ends up hurting the women in the long run. Cases of sexual harassment are frequent in many places including public places and even work places (Sophia Sepulveda 150). For examples, some men in higher positions look to harass women who look for promotions. When such women do not submit to their demands, the men end up frustrating the efforts for career growth for such women.
Sexual harassment takes many forms in which, either the woman or the man is to blame. However, there are basically two types of sexual harassment which include; hostile work environment and quid pro quo.
Hostile Work Environment
Situations of hostile work environment often occur through conduct or speech which is pervasive and creates and environment that is intimidating to a person. Such speech or conduct negatively affects the job performance of an individual. Hostile work environment sexual harassment can be perpetrated by any person in the working environment. The persons can range from senior employees to subordinates. The situations that occur in this work environment include demeaning behaviors that occur based on sex or not based on sex. The behaviors include inappropriate touching, repeated request for dates, sexual comments and jokes among others (Susan Strauss 112).
The sexual harassment cases in the working environment are mainly blames on the male employees. Most of the male employees take advantage of the working environment to sexually harass their subordinates or peers due to the fact that they believe that it is easier to take advantage of a fellow employee. Hostile work environment leads to low work productivity among employees and lack of job satisfaction. It is important for managements to ensure that such incidents of hostile work environment are prevented to ensure that companies reap from maximum productivity from the staff members.
Quid Pro Quo
Quid pro quo form of sexual harassment is where a person does a sexual favor to achieve a certain goal. The situation always involves implied demands for sexual favors from women in the working environments for benefits such as pay increases or promotions. The situations can also occur to prevent incidents of termination or demotion of a person from work. Quid pro quo harassment is perpetrated by persons in power in an organization (Susan Strauss 78). The person can be either male or female depending on the situations. The result of this form of harassment is increased rates of hiring underqualified staff personnel in companies. For example, human resource managers who hire employees due to the fact that, the candidates provided sexual favors to them, are likely to hire underqualified staff members in the organization. As a result, the organization will face a situation where most of the employees are underqualified.
Conclusion and Recommendation
It is important that sexual harassment is minimized in the society. Sexual harassment in the society hinders growth and development in many places. Men are blamed for the cause of sexual harassments in public places. It is important for these situations to be stopped by empowering the women to speak up to such cases in the society as depicted in Qahera’s comics (Mona Baker 223). Qahera has shown that women have the power to step up and fight for their rights and for the rights of their young girls. Such a measure will ensure that there is a safe environment for women in the society. The research shows that men are mainly to blame for the sexual harassment cases that occur in the society. People need to ensure that women are treated equally and fairly as men in the society. There is need to respect women and avoid cases where women are sexually harassed by men due to the perception that they are weak and unable to defend themselves. Women can ensure that they prevent cases of men harassing them in the working environment by standing up for what is right.
- Boland, Mary L. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. Naperville, Ill: Sphinx Pub, 2006. Print.
- Sepulveda, Sophia. Arab Women, Red Lines: The Anti-Sexual Harassment Movement in Egypt. Diss. Brown University, 2015.