According to UN convention, by sexual harassment we mean - sexist commentaries, unwelcome touching, unwelcome kissing, unwelcome hugging, vulgar gestures, public masturbation, whistling, such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.
In Georgia, 45% of women experienced sexual harassment in public transport in Georgia (WIC 2014). 85% said that no one helped them out and none reported to the police (WIC 2014).
79% said they didn’t respond to harassment. 9% of women in Georgia, experienced sexual harassment below the age of 18 (UN Women, 2017).
Statistics concerning sexual harassment in children in Georgia are quite obscure. research states that 177 children out of 1050 say that they have experienced sexual harassment and violence more than once.95 children said that sexual abuse was happening at home. (UNICEF, 2007).
The study demonstrated that the Georgian public understands physical violence but psychological violence, sexual abuse and neglect are considered either taboo subjects or are not as well understood. (UNICEF, 2013)
Concerning abuse in schools, same study shows that while the majority of resource officers and teachers saw the need to respond to sexual abuse (including involvement of social workers and police), there is a very low understanding of how to react to other forms of violence.
Definition of the sexual harassment doesn’t exist in Georgian legislation. In 2017, Georgia ratified Istanbul convention about prevention of violence against women, which also includes the obligation to criminalise sexual harassment.
In 2016 there was first attempt to criminalize sexual harassment, but it failed. In 2017, Women’s Movement creates another law offered to Parliament, which concerns sexual harassment criminalization in public places by administrative penalties.
Legislative initiative, which criminalizes sexual harassment only in public places is still to be discussed by the parliament.
According the initiative, the prosecutor can initiate the case if there is a witnesses or physical evidences of it.
As lawyer Anna Arganashivli says, when it’s concerning children, sexual harassment is not regarded seriously and child is not perceived as a independent juridical subject, which creates difficulties in the case of investigation.
One of the main and important tool to fight sexual harassment - education. The more child now about it the better it is. This themes connected to harassment, abuse etc should be part of the sexual education lessons. According to study , educated children are three times more likely to speak out sexual abuse.
Georgian school civil education program does not include sex education program. As Expert of Civil Education says, there are no classes where the teacher discusses sex and relationships, sexual harassment or abuse in class.. He claims that children are only taught to respect each other. However, sex education is part of the public school program in all western European countries.
Experience of Britain According, to guidelines, In Great Britain Ministry of Education obliges all the schools and colleges to include making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up.
It is more likely that girls will be the victims of sexual violence and more likely that sexual harassment will be perpetrated by boys.
All maintained secondary schools must teach sex and relationship education (SRE). Any school required to teach it, or state-funded school that chooses to teach it, must follow the SRE Statutory Guidance.
Schools and colleges can play an important role in preventative education. Keeping Children Safe in Education sets out that all schools and colleges should ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including how to stay safe online, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum.
They teach : • healthy and respectful relationships; • what respectful behaviour looks like; • gender roles, stereotyping, equality; • body confidence and self-esteem; • prejudiced behaviour; • that sexual violence and sexual harassment is always wrong; and • addressing cultures of sexual harassment.
Also, it mentioned that the school’s or college’s initial response to a disclosure from a child is important. It is essential that victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report.
by Ekaterina Kharbedia,
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