National conference on sexual harassment held

Kathmandu, December 28

National conference on sexual harassment was organised in the capital today.

Highlighting the issues of sexual harassment, speakers at the conference shed light on the condition of children, who were victims of sexual harassment, possible situations during which sexual harassment could take place, and ways of preventing harassment both at schools and workplaces.

The conference was organised by South Asian Foundation for Academic Research and Centre for Advanced Studies in South Asia. Speakers also delved into how policies could help control sexual harassment cases and ways to reduce  the number of cases at home, school and their localities.

They also talked about  verbal aspects related to harassment. “Sexual harassment doesn’t only take place through inappropriate touching, it also happens with the use of words. Therefore we need to use language properly,” said Prof Arun Gupto, academic director, Comparative South Asian Studies of CASSA and SAFAR.

Speakers also said continuous fighting against sexual harassment had helped reduce the number of cases. Gender disparity, lack of education and lack of job opportunities were some of the causes for increasing sexual harassment in the country, they pointed out.

They also discussed mental health issues of children who were sexually harassed.  “Vulnerability of children should be taken into consideration while dealing with children’s psychology. There are cycles of sexual harassment,” said Dr Arun Raj Kunwar, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Kanti Children’s Hospital.

Presenting examples of such cycles of sexual harassment cases, Dr Kunwar said, “We need to look at the psychological needs of the children when we are dealing with issues of sexual harassment and mental health condition of the child who was harassed.”

Free and compulsory education should be provided to children in order to prevent sexual harassment and trafficking. There should be zero tolerance of sexual harassment and relentless efforts to fight it, the speakers said.