NGO trains women leaders on sextortion, gender violence at workplace

30Dec 2018
Beatrice Philemon
Dar es Salaam
Guardian On Sunday
NGO trains women leaders on sextortion, gender violence at workplace

WOMEN leadership committees at the workplace from five municipal councils in Dar es Salaam have been trained on sextortion and gender-based violence at the workplace.

The training aims to make them ambassadors to teach others to end sextortion at the work place.

Women Fighting Aids in Tanzania (WOFAPA) managing director Mpembwa Chihimba made the remarks yesterday in Dar es Salaam at the just-ended one-day training on gender-based violence and sextortion at the workplace.

The workshop was organized by WOFATA with support from Women Fund Tanzania.

The workshop brought together participants from the Tanzania Union of Industrial and Commercial Workers (TUICO), Tanzania Union of Government and Health Employees (TUGHE), Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA).

Others included Academics and Allied Workers Union (RAAWU), community development officers and gender development series seminars (GDSS), Tanzania Young Positive Ambassadors and International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDs.

She said sextortion had a huge impact on men and women at the workplace and so they planned to come up with best action plan to fight the vice.

“This habit has become a part of life in the workplace. It is very dangerous for workers and it could lead to the spread of diseases as well,” she said.

She said most women looking for jobs or promotions have been targeted by men in senior positions.

According to her, those who received the training would need to impart it to others including the victims of such acts.

“We know there are other forms of harassment at the workplace, but sextortion is a growing problem,” she said when asked why they had focused on sextortion. She said records showed that 80 per cent of women had already gone through the problem.

She however said despite the increasing number of victims, it was hard to prove occurrence of the vice because victims were shy to expose such acts and report them to relevant security organs.

She said the victims were likely to suffer from psychological consequences that include loss of self-confidence, depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

Other sufferings she said might include sleep disorders (insomnia, feeling of shame and guilt, fear for own life, oneself, suicide attempts, sexual difficulties and other issues.)

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Tanzania Union of Industrial and Commercial Workers (TUICO)’s Women’s Committee in Temeke region Magdalena Samkumbi has said gender-based violence was increasing in the country.

She said women needed to know their rights, adding that she would ensure that the training was conducted for many women around the country.

According to her, women needed guidance on how to respond to such acts because the majority of them were not aware that such acts were regarded as gender-based violence.

“With this training there will be a change at the workplace on how men treat women,” she said.