12 Mar 2007

An NGO in Samoa says sexual harassment must be taken seriously

5:53 am on 12 March 2007

An NGO in Samoa says sexual harassment must be taken seriously and there are many women in the workplace who suffer in silence unnecessarily.

Mapusaga o Aiga, an organisation for abused women and children in Samoa, is calling on the Government to ensure sexual harassment policies are in place in all Government organisations and the private sector.

The move follows an ombudsmen report which found that the former CEO of the Tourism Authority had sexually harassed two women.

The President of Mapusaga of Aiga, lawyer Maiava Peteru, says the ombudsmen's report clarifies the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, an issue that is still generally misunderstood and rejected as trivial.

Maiava says people need to know that sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation in the workplace will not be tolerated in Samoa.

"I believe there are women who either suffer in silence or suffer from not knowing they are being harassed."

Maiava says the prime minister's move to call for the Ombudsman to investigate the complaints is a good sign.