Daily, several cases of sexual harassment at workplace are being reported to the Federal Ombudsperson Secretariat which has increased from eight to over 40 per month.
Federal Ombudsperson (spokesperson) for Protection against Harassment (FOSPAH) Kashmala Tariq whispered that ever since March 2018, there had been an extreme mount in the number of cases being filed. And the appalling truth is that the common cases are being reported from government offices across the country.
Kashmala considers that #MeToo movement is playing a important part in motivating the victims of sexual harassment to come ahead and fight their case but also the local media to emphasize on the serious issues which were previously considered as a taboo in the Pakistani society.
She said that at present people are opening up, speaking up and looking for justice which is a constructive sign in fight against sexual harassment at workplace. According to the FOSPAH’s annual report, as many as 244 cases of harassment at workplace were registered with the Secretariat, out of which 161 were reported by females and 83 by males. Some 73 of these cases were reported from the public sector and the rest from office in the private and semi-private sector. Of the total number of case, 213 have been decided so far while 31 are in progress.
She continued that The federal ombudsperson secretariat has also received cases of sexual harassment at workplace from men which shows that even men are being victimized. The number of cases reported from the public sector is high than those in the private sector since in government offices, people are not scared of being fired. However, private sector employees are afraid of losing their job which discourages them from lodging their complaints.
She also said that there are millions of public and private organizations based in Karachi. However, it is surprising to see fewer cases being reported from there. It might be for the reason that there is lack of awareness among Karachites.
She explained the process of lodging complaint with the ombudsperson and told that it is very simple. The decision comes within two months and the victim doesn’t needs to hire a lawyer or spend money for any legal work. He or she only has to file a complaint and the rest of the work, like investigation, is done by the ombudsperson.