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A year on: “No one dares harass women anymore”

Last year Arunny* spoke out about the sexual harassment she experienced while working in a garment factory in south-east Asia.

We follow up to see how her experience at work has changed.

“In the past, I faced harassment from my boss. He used to overuse his power and take advantage of me. Whenever he saw me alone, he would find opportunities to harass me, coming up behind and hugging me.

“He never did it to anyone else, only me because I didn’t report his behaviour to anyone. I didn’t know who to report to and if I mentioned this people did not pay attention since they saw it was only a joke.“

Now it has changed.

“I feel safe at work because no one is messing with me now.”CARE has been working with factories like Arunny’s to help management ensure women feel safe from sexual harassment. We want to support workplaces develop positive policies, increase women’s confidence to stand up to sexual harassment and report this, and encourage improved laws and regulations across the Mekong region.

Arunny sees this is working.

“This behaviour has stopped because my factory has training on those topics. Everyone in my factory has learnt about sexual harassment, so they all understand that it’s not ok.

“My factory also has policies to prevent sexual harassment and management announce these to everyone. When I heard the announcement of sexual harassment policies in my factory, I was so joyful and very supportive of this because they also included verbal sexual harassment as well as physical sexual harassment in these policies.

“We also have a sexual harassment committee, so that people can feel comfort in reporting.

“The harassers now don’t dare to act like in the past. No one dares to harass women anymore.

“Now I feel safe when I’m at work.”

CARE is working with garment factories in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the workplace. Enhancing Women’s Voice to STOP Sexual Harassment (STOP) is supported by the Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the Gender Action Platform and the Australian NGO Cooperation Program. In the factory where Arunny works, CARE’s work is supported by the Levi Strauss Foundation.

CARE supports the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention to end violence and harassment in the world of work that is currently being negotiated because we believe this can help ensure women like Arunny and the millions of other working women around the globe are safe and respected at work.

*Names have been changed

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