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2012 (Vol. 4, Issue: 1)
Article Information:

Jamaica is Without a National Sexual Harassment Policy: Challenges, Consequences, Health Problems and the Need for a National Policy Framework

R. Peters and P.A. Bourne
Corresponding Author:  Racquel Peters 

Key words:  Health, health problems, Jamaica, National Sexual Harassment Policy, public health, sexed culture, sexuality, sexual harassment
Vol. 4 , (1): 20-35
Submitted Accepted Published
2010 September, 10 2010 October, 09 2012 February, 20
Abstract:

Humans are sexual as they are physical beings. Simply put, sexual relations are embedded in their composition and so legislations are needed to protect vulnerable groups such as children, poor, women, orphans, elderly, mentally and physically disabled people and adolescents from sexual exploitations. The current study will explore why Jamaica needs a national sexual harassment policy, the challenges without a policy and the difficulties in formulating a policy in such a highly sexed culture. The methodology that was utilized for the study was ethnography. This study was conducted in Metropolis of Jamaica (i.e., Kingston and St. Andrew), and purposive sampling was used to select respondents, with focus groups and elite interviews being among the methods of data collection. There was consensus in the focus group that policies such as those for sexual harassment are not meant to act as deterrents per say but as back up plans, a tool to reach for just in case the harassment occurs; “the rules are not enforced they are just there if something happens I don’t think they can be enforced”. It was also postulated that in Jamaican culture the men approach women, however if the woman makes it clear that she is not interested the most the man will do is curse then move on to another female of interest. It was agreed upon by all participants in the study that power plays a role in sexual harassment and its definition. There was notably more reference to sexual harassment between a manager and a subordinate than between co-workers. A subject stated that: “Many time the harasser feels entitled to harass because they know that they have the power if you complain you might lose the work.” It was also felt that a sexual harassment policy should have various degrees of punishment dependent on the number of infractions the accused has been found guilty of. Thus, a male participant in the focus session declared, “I don’t feel the policy should just fire you like that for sexual harassment. For me sexual harassment is a persistent thing so if you do it once you get reprimanded. Do it again you get suspended that kind of way.” Sexual harassment policy formulation cannot be left to the power men, men bosses and men supervisors to construct because they (men) have a culturalization about sex and sexuality which may contravene to an effective policy framework or to businesses without a national policy framework. Such a situation will foster sexual violence, discrimination, exploitation and harassment against women, children and economically marginalized groups.
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  Cite this Reference:
R. Peters and P.A. Bourne, 2012. Jamaica is Without a National Sexual Harassment Policy: Challenges, Consequences, Health Problems and the Need for a National Policy Framework.  Asian Journal of Business Management, 4(1): 20-35.
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