Human resources experts and lawyers in Singapore say sexual harassment is not uncommon here but they do not know the extent of its prevalence.
A survey in 2008 by the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) found slightly over half of the 500 people polled had experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. This ranged from receiving sexually explicit messages or content to being touched inappropriately and, at its worst, rape.
Mary, a 28-year-old lawyer, who faced unwanted sexual advances from her boss says she tried to report the situation to her firm’s HR but was instead told to keep mum. When she wanted to escalate the problem to the police she was given a year’s salary as compensation and asked to leave.
Earlier this month, she started a website, www.heartochange.com, for people to share their experiences of sexual harassment anonymously.
“I am not someone who is shy and not someone who doesn’t speak her mind. But when I spoke up, I was told I’m a liar and I made things up,” she said. “So I hope that more people can speak up even anonymously, so they don’t have to feel all alone and they can find some support.”
Here’s what you can do if you are facing a sexual harassment problem in the workplace:
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