Sex pest victim now permanently transferred from Indonesia; ?Sex pest? is not off the hook yet, Sunday Independent

Date: January 1, 1970
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The woman at the centre of a sexual harassment case involving Norman Mashabane, South Africa?s ambassador to Indonesia, has been transferred to another country.

This article may be used to:
  • How the media covers sexual harassment particularly when the accused is in a high profile position.
  • Highlight the importance of following up on running stories.

Trainer’s notes

The two articles in this case study is part of series of articles written about a sexual harassment case against Norman Mashabane, ’s ambassador to . The journalist concerned did not stop covering the story after the initial allegations were made. Through this series of articles the journalist kept the story in the news and ensured that the public informed about how the Department of foreign Affairs was dealing with the case.
In addition, the series also kept track of how this case was affecting the survivor of the sexual harassment. Even though she is not named and does not speak for legal reasons, her mother’s comments are included in one of the stories. The stories are balanced and fair with interviews from government and people who alleged they have been harassed by Mashabane.
On a point of language, the women who have said Mashabane had sexually harassed them are referred to as ‘victims’ in the headline and the story. They should be referred to as survivors, several of these women have laid charges against their harasser and are not victims. They have taken control of the situation and are doing something about it.
Sexual harassment
’s constitution and Employment Equity Act outlaws any form of discrimination in the workplace including sexual harassment. Many workplaces implemented sexual harassment policies and mechanisms to resolve sexual harassment cases.
Sexual harassment is defined as:
  • … unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. The unwanted nature of sexual harassment distinguishes it from behaviour that is welcome and mutual.
Sexual attention becomes sexual harassment if:
  • The behaviour is persisted in, although a single incident of harassment can constitute sexual harassment; and/or
  • The recipient has made it clear that the behaviour is considered offensive; and/or
  • The perpetrator should have known that the behaviour is regarded as unacceptable.
Forms of sexual harassment
1. Sexual harassment may include unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct, but is not limited to the examples listed as follows:
  • Physical conduct of a sexual nature includes all unwanted physical contact, ranging from touching to sexual assault and rape, and includes a strip search by or in the presence of the opposite sex.
  • Verbal forms of sexual harassment include unwelcome innuendoes, suggestions and hints, sexual advances, comments with sexual overtones, sex-related jokes or insults or unwelcome graphic comments about a person’s body made in their presence or directed toward them, unwelcome and inappropriate enquiries about a person’s sex life, and unwelcome whistling directed at a person or group of persons.
  • Non-verbal forms of sexual harassment include unwelcome gestures, indecent exposure, and the unwelcome display of sexually explicit pictures and objects.
  • Quid pro quo harassment occurs where an owner, employer, supervisor, member of management or co-employee, undertakes or attempts to influence the process of employment, promotion, training, discipline, dismissal, salary increment or other benefit of an employee or job applicant, in exchange for sexual favours.
2. Sexual favouritism exists where a person who is in a position of authority rewards only those who respond to his/her sexual advances, whilst other deserving employees who do not submit themselves to any sexual advances are denied promotions, merit rating or salary increases.
It is still very difficult for people who are experiencing or have experienced sexual harassment to bring charges and have their heard. Quite often sexual harassment cases drag on and while this is happening the survivor and alleged accused have to continue working together.
Fair and balanced media coverage of sexual harassment cases is important to create awareness about the problem; to contribute to an environment where people feel empowered to bring cases forward and to hold both perpetrators and employers accountable.
Training exercises
Exercise one: Discuss the following in a group:
  1. What is sexual harassment?
  2. Identify the actions that you consider to be sexual harassment?
  3. Why do you think it is difficult for people experiencing sexual harassment to charge the perpetrators?
  4. Does your country have laws in place to deal with sexual harassment? If yes, how effective is the law? If no, how can such law be developed?
Exercise two: Read the case study and discuss the following:
  1. Why are these stories gender aware? Look at sources; context; follow up; balance; perspective; portrayal.
  2. What kind of impact could a series of articles such as these have?

Download : Sex pest victim
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