Over 50 participants drawn from various departments, CBD centres and campuses started a two day workshop on sexual harassment, Thursday 6, March 2014 at the main campus. The event organized by the Directorate of Gender and Disability mainstreaming aims to equip the coordinators with requisite knowledge and competencies to discern, report and competently handle any form of sexual harassment among university community.
The initiative also seeks to foster implementation of the Varsity’s sexual harassment policy, developed to respond to the national regulations like the Sexual Offences Act 2006 and the Employment Act.
Common manifestations of workplace sexual harassment include: unwelcome sexual propositions, touching, gestures, solicitations, and flirtations; inducement to engage in sex, to get employment, promotion, service or other forms of favour. Others include use of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes and text messages.
When left unchecked, the practice can lead to devastating effects including morbidity, mortality, pregnancies and HIV transmission.
While opening the workshop, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga noted JKUAT was committed to address and manage incidences of sexual harassment, which she said, continued to act as a barrier to full participation of both women and men in the workplace and the classroom.
‘The policy will foster an atmosphere of trust and respect that is essential to a healthy work and academic environment,’ added Imbuga, in an address read by Dr. Johnson Kinyua, Director Gender and Mentoring Centre.
In his address, Dr. Kinyua urged the participants to be proactive in the implementation of the Sexual Harassment policy to minimize the vice in the University.
The two day workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Margaret Meme; a gender consultant who will take participates through the Sexual Harassment Act 2006; and Dr. Hellen Mberia of JKUAT who is tipped to guide the workshop on sexual harassment prevention and rehabilitation.