Study shows high prevalence of sexual harassment in education, health sectors

A study by the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has revealed that there is a high prevalence of sexual harassment cases especially in the education sector with 20% and the health sector with 18% in the country.

This was disclosed in Lilongwe during a dissemination meeting for the Malawi Human Rights Commission sexual harassment study.

In his remarks MHRC Commissioner, Baldwin Chiyamwaka singled out power dynamics as the biggest reason fueling sexual harassment in the health and education sectors.

According to Chiyamwaka, in schools learners and students as well as patients in hospitals fall victims of the vice because they are powerless.

“The main challenge is that institutions do not protect survivors and whistle blowers; as such there is a low percentage in the reporting of such cases,” Chiyamwaka said.

He however indicated that several recommendations have been made to various institutions in a quest to end the vice and has since called upon the ministry of labour to develop systems to enhance transparency in recruitment, service provision and promotions in institutions.

Team Leader for Chilungamo Project which is under European Union, Sophie Racine, expressed dismay with increased cases of sexual harassment especially in workplaces.

According to Racine, there is need for bold steps which would help to end sexual abuse in various institutions.

The study has also found out the violation of various rights which include the general right to work and the right to access justice and effective remedies, the right to safe working environment, privacy and divinity.

According to MHRC sexual harassment negatively impacts the lives, health, financial independence and opportunities of countless victims, the productivity, effectiveness and moral of business and institution.

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