Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when either:
- The conduct is made as a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment or participation in a University community.
- The acceptance or refusal of such conduct is used as the basis or a factor in decisions affecting an individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University community.
- The conduct unreasonably impacts an individual’s employment or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University community.
According to Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration there are different forms of sexual harassment, namely:
- 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.
- 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 increased.
Sexual harassment in the workplace like a hospital can happen in any forms, and unfortunately, I have experienced one where patients verbally harass me. I worked in a ward where I saw the majority of the patients of that ward. there was a specific room in that ward of which I used to dread. this room had 6 patients of which I used to treat 4 of them. the minute I walked into that room all the comments would start. I first took as a joke till it got to the point where I would actually panic every time I walked into that room. the patients would make comments about my looks, to the way I walked and even my touch to them was more or less like as seen in the video. this made it very difficult for me to conduct an effective treatment for these patients as I did not want to spend a long time in that room. this hindered me achieving my goal as a physio. I made sure that every time I treated these patients I kept the curtain open as I did not trust these patients. they inappropriately look at me while making comments about me being in bed with them. I used to note this down in physio notes. this situation was very difficult to cope with as I did not have a clinician at that time because she was on sick leave. I had about 5 different clinicians who would check up on me now and then but I never really had the chance to express my concerns with them. I, however, explained this to the sister in charge and she made sure that whenever I was in that room, there was always a nurse or the sister herself around just to reassure me. I don’t know if I handled this situation accordingly but at least I managed to still achieve my duty as a physio.
Sexual Harassment – Nurse vs Patient [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DwiaSDfyBw
sexual harassment code. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ccma.org.za/Display.asp?L1=34&L2=68
What is Sexual Harassment? | Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sapac.umich.edu/article/63