Sexual harassment in the workplace is a pervasive issue in Nigeria, as in many other countries. `
According to our research into workplace sexual harassment in Nigeria, we found that it is prevalent across various sectors and affects both women and men. A large number of Nigerian workers (64%) have experienced some form of sexual harassment in their workplaces, including unwanted sexual advances, comments, gestures, and requests for sexual favours.
It’s important to note that sexual harassment in the workplace is a violation of Nigerian labour laws and international human rights standards. The Nigerian Labor Act prohibits any form of sexual harassment, and organisations are required to have policies in place to address and prevent such incidents.
The consequences of workplace sexual harassment are severe and can have a detrimental impact on the well-being and productivity of individuals. Victims often suffer emotional distress, anxiety, depression, decreased job satisfaction, and reduced career prospects.
They may also face barriers to reporting the harassment due to fear of retaliation, stigmatisation, or a lack of supportive mechanisms. However, an important aspect of eradicating all forms of sexual violence, especially sexual harassment is breaking the culture of silence.
Read also: The Menace of Stigmatisation
As a result, we wrote down some steps you can take if you are being harassed sexually below:
- Document incidents:
Keep a record of all incidents related to the harassment, including dates, times, locations, descriptions of what happened, and names of any witnesses. This documentation can be useful when reporting harassment.
- Review company policies:
Familiarise yourself with your company’s policies regarding workplace harassment. Check the employee handbook or any documents related to workplace conduct. This will help you understand the procedures and options available to address the issue.
- Talk to a trusted colleague:
Share your concerns with a trusted colleague or friend at work. They may provide support, and guidance, or even offer to be a witness if needed.
- Report the harassment:
Follow your company’s reporting procedures for workplace harassment incidents. This often involves reporting the situation to your immediate supervisor, human resources department, or a designated authority. Provide them with the documented incidents and any evidence you have.
- Maintain confidentiality:
If you’re comfortable doing so, request that the information you provide be kept confidential. This can help protect you from potential retaliation.
- Seek legal advice:
If the harassment persists or if your company fails to address the situation appropriately, you may want to consult with an employment attorney or a civil society organisation to understand your rights and explore potential legal remedies. You can contact us by filling out our intake form.
- Take care of yourself:
Experiencing harassment can be emotionally and mentally distressing. Make sure to prioritise your well-being. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who can help you cope with the situation.
Remember, every situation is unique, and it’s essential to find the best course of action based on your specific circumstances. Know that it is not your fault and the shame and responsibility belong to your harasser.