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NGOs tighten up on sexual harassment policies

Civil society organisations in South Africa are reviewing their own sexual harassment policies, following the Mail & Guardian’s exposé of the sexual harassment scandal at Equal Education.

A feminist caucus, consisting of womxn across the NGO sector, released a statement declaring their support for everyone who has come forward about their experiences of sexual harassment. They also called for a transparent, survivor-centred approach to the processes dealing with sexual harassment; the issuing of public apologies to women who have left the sector; and the names of those found to be guilty of sexual harassment to be made public.

READ MORE: #WeBelieveThem: Feminist caucus calls for end to ‘culture of silence’ in NGO sector

Both Section27 and Sonke Gender Justice released statements saying they would revise their sexual harassment policies.

“We support all brave women who come forward with their experiences often at personal and emotional costs. The prevalence of sexual harassment in our society, which the recent examples show exists in all sectors, requires us to introspect and work harder,” Section27 said.

Right2Know said in a statement that there was an urgent need to “combat patriarchy across all sectors of our society and especially within activist spaces, including the Right2Know Campaign”. They said they had suspended a member within their organisation after sexual harassment allegations arose.

The Raith Foundation, a donor entity, said they did not consider themselves or any other funder above criticism.

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Rumana Akoob
Rumana Akoob is a former investigative journalist who is now an activist and communications specialist

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