Sexual Harrassment in Uganda

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THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN JUDGES –UGANDA (NAWJU)

A Proposal for:

Sexual Harassment Laws in Uganda and Stakeholder Linkages Project

Submitted to:

Uganda Good Governance Programme (UGOGA)-Danish Development Agency (DANIDA)

By: Harriet Nalukwago Ssali & NAWJU

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN JUDGES – UGANDA (NAWJU)

The National Association of Women Judges- Uganda (NAWJU) is a non-governmental organization composed of over 40 jurists who are focused on enforcing women’s rights and increasing women’s access to the legal system. NAWJU is a long-time active member of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) and hosted the IAWJ Seventh Biennial International Conference in May 2004 with the theme, “Increasing Women’s Access to Justice”.

PROPOSED PROJECT BACKGROUND & SUMMARY
The National Association of Women Judges of Uganda (NAWJU) is pleased to submit a Project Proposal to the Uganda Good Governance Programme (UGOGA) –Danish Development Agency (DANIDA) for the amount of Twenty Million Uganda Shillings only (Ugx 20,000,000) to implement the Sexual Harassment Laws in Uganda and Stakeholder Linkages Project.

Sexual harassment violates the rights of the individual to privacy. The victim is exposed to unwanted acts such as touching, fondling, kissing, patting and so on. And this makes the body of the victim public. The victim has nothing to hide any more.

On the other hand, sexual harassment is form of discrimination on grounds of sex. The victim is treated the way she is because of her sex. And this is a matter of serious concern. Although it can happen to both men and women it is the women who are more of the victims. Sexual harassment has also proved to pose health hazards. According to Fitzgerald

‘Studies by psychologists show that harassment can be a serious threat to women’s psychological and physical wellbeing, it also has medical repercussions. Sexual harassment causes anxiety, depression, headaches, weight loss (or gain), nausea and sexual dysfunction. Victims have also been found to suffer lowered self-esteem.’

Naira Khan says that:
‘Sexual harassment like any other form of sexual victimization, functions as an agent of social control and is an expression of contempt and hostility for any woman who ventures out of the society’s acceptable role as a home maker into the public and masculine arena of the workplace.’ In Uganda, Dr. Sylvia Tamale conducted a study on gender and parliamentary politics. Her core findings were that despite their political status, women parliamentarians had to contend with the issue of sex on a day to day basis. To quote her: ‘Not all women parliamentarians I interviewed were willing to openly discuss the issue of sexual harassment. A few told me that they preferred not to talk about it; others denied ever having been victims of it. However, further probing and couching the question in a less direct fashion almost always revealed that sex was an issue that most women legislators had to deal with on a day to day basis.’ Rebecca Kadaga (2000) in her study on subtle hostility, found that sexual harassment against women ministers was rampant. This comes out from the following quotation from her research, where a respondent said to her: ‘A male colleague asked me to go to his office to discuss about certain services for my area. When I got there, the man grabbed me and tried to kiss me…I told him, that was not what I had gone to his office to do…I left without discussing the services that had taken me there in the first place. The same respondent goes on to say; Our status does not protect us from abuse…for instance I went to visit the managing director of a utility company to discuss provision of water in my area…And I was already a minister, instead, the man made passes at me.’ ‘The sexual harassment of women at the workplace has existed as far back as when women first went out to sell their wares but it has only recently been...
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