Wed | Dec 19, 2018

PNP calls for retabling of Sexual Harassment Bill

Published:Friday | March 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Dr Peter Phillips

Opposition leader Dr Peter Philips is calling on the Andrew Holness administration to immediately retable the Sexual Harassment Bill as part of efforts to arrest this scourge in Jamaica.

As Jamaica joined the rest of the world in marking International Women's Day yesterday, Phillips used a media briefing to argue that the bill, which was tabled under the People's National Party in 2016, is not just about sexual harassment in the workplace. He said that the legislation should include sexual harassment in all public spaces so that women would feel protected and supported by the law.

"We need to recognise that many of the attitudes and values in our society have been inherited over many years, centuries, in fact, and many of these attitudes are, basically, hostile to women," said Phillips. The treatment that our women receive in the workplace, in the streets, on public transportation and elsewhere is definitely not conducive to the kind of healthy society that we would want to see created," he said.

 

Their rightful place

 

The opposition leader wants to see a society that allows women to step up and take their rightful place and not feel like they have to pay more of an emotional or personal price to move up in the ranks of business, politics, or any other area of life.

"We want all who are survivors of sexual harassment to be heard, to be taken seriously and to know that there is protection in the law, and for would-be perpetrators to know this will not be tolerated," said Phillips.

In the meantime, the PNP's Women's Movement, which has led the drive against sexual harassment in the party, said that it has prepared its internal policy and was moving to implement it.

The women's movement also called on the Government to speedily complete the review of the Sexual Offences Act, The Child Care and Protection Act, The Domestic Violence Act, and the Offences against the Persons Act.