Men invited to learn about sexual harassment
Men can do more to help prevent sexual harassment of women, an activist said yesterday.
Elaine Butterfield, executive director of the Women’s Resource Centre, said: “We want to hopefully bring some understanding to why women feel the way they feel, why this has come up at this time, and help men to understand how to navigate it and correct it, if that’s necessary.”
Ms Butterfield was speaking before an event next Tuesday, called The World According to Women, designed to examine sexual harassment and help educate men on the problem. The event was organised in the wake of the rise of movements set up to target sexual harassment and gender equality such as MeToo, HeForShe and Time’s Up.
Ms Butterfield said the event would look at topics that some men might not see as sexual harassment, including unwanted comments and jokes.
She added: “Some men may not fully understand — depending on their upbringing, depending on their socialisation, the community they live in — that some things are socially acceptable and some things are not.”
Ms Butterfield said she did not believe that there was anything about Bermudian culture that would make educating men on sexual harassment difficult.
She added: “The fact that men are signing up to take the workshop speaks volumes to us.
“It speaks volumes to us that men actually want to understand this issue and want to contribute to it in a more positive way.”
Ms Butterfield said that the event would give men the chance “to become part of the conversation”.
She said: “We need men to educate other men as to why this is so important to women — not just in Bermuda but worldwide.
“We’re hoping that men will start speaking out on this issue.”
But Ms Butterfield said the role of men in efforts such as MeToo went beyond educating other men and supporting women-led initiatives. She explained: “It’s also about their personal experience and satisfaction in relationships with women — understanding how women actually feel.”
Ms Butterfield added: “I think this will give them some insight as to why women are taking this so seriously.”
She said that while the Human Rights Act provided protection against sexual harassment she wanted employers to adapt their own policies. She added: “Ultimately, what we believe this fosters is better relationships between men and women, period. And that would be our ultimate goal in education.”
The World According to Women will be held at Charities House on Point Finger Road, Paget, on Tuesday, starting at 5.30pm. For more information call 295-3882 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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