Ms Freda Aniwaah Boateng, the Group Head, Legal & Corporate Services, Alianz Ghana, says men passing sexual or romantic comments about women at the workplace is a form of sexual violence.
“If you are a young lady and your boss has asked you to come to greet him every morning before he gets the energy to work, and you cannot say no because he has authority over your salary increase, promotion or sustenance, it is a workplace abuse.”
“Very soon, it will move from that to let’s go on a lunch date and then dinner date and to the others”.
She gave the explanation at a seminar organised by the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association in Accra on Thursday on the theme: “Gender-based violence: Impact on Health and Productivity in a COVID-19 World”.
Ms Boateng emphasised that it was not only physical touches at work that were forms of sexual violence but verbal comments too.
Such harassments, she said, reduced the victim’s productivity and their ability to confidently give off their best input.
Ms Boateng said sexual comments or addresses via social media (WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook etc), and/or touches at employers’ bungalows, work, social gatherings and trips, were all forms of workplace abuse that had to be discouraged with a sense of urgency.
She encouraged corporate institutions and working environments to develop measures to enable victims to speak up whenever they were harassed.
Ms Boateng said it was unfortunate that Ghana had not ratified the Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work.
She asked women to desist from the judgmental attitude whenever they came across victims of rape and harassment, and support one another to speak up about their problems.
Chief Superintendent Juliana Agyeiwaa Dartey, Director, Nursing Services, Police Hospital, advised women to desist from the attitude of receiving monies and gifts from their male bosses to reduce the risks of being sexually harassed.
“There is nothing like free lunch. If you keep taking his money, then he might one day also demand something in return,” she said.