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“Beware - everyone is going to try to sleep with you or kiss you. Don’t worry, it’s okay they do it with every intern that comes here...just know it happens.” With those words of advice Oriana Castro Ramirez began the first day of her internship at an international advertising agency in Bogota, Colombia.
Her story is no different to millions around the world who face sexual harassment in their workplaces. The toll it takes can be devastating and more often than not it goes unreported. But recent allegations in Silicon Valley, a damning report from university campuses and a Hollywood award has revived this age old conversation.
What is sexual harassment? In the United States the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
And it is global. It’s about abusive power that can be used on someone based on their gender, race or sexual orientation that can result in an adverse employment decisions, such as the victim being fired or demoted. According to the United Nations between 40 and 50 percent of women in European Union countries "experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work." In Brazil, sexual harassment can be a crime for the employee who commits it, but only a civil matter for the employer. Sexual harassment in India is illegal, but a recent study found that 70 percent of working women do not report incidents for fear of repercussion.
We’ll gather a panel of workers from around the world to share their experiences of sexual harassment and the effect it had on them.
On this episode of The Stream, we'll speak to:
Oriana Castro Ramirez @ogghiana
Bisi Alimi @bisialimi
Director, Bisi Alimi Foundation
Rashima Kwatra @OutRightIntl
Communications Officer, OutRight
Emily Martin @nwlc
General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice, National Women’s Law Center
Humberto Carolo @whiteribbon
Managing Director, White Ribbon
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.