The Cambridge Dictionary defines harassment as the " illegal behavior towards a person that causes mental or emotional suffering which includes repeated unwanted contacts without a reasonable purpose, insults, threats, touching or offensive language".

In the Uganda Penal code act, "Harass” means and includes all acts of engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces fear of harm, annoyance, and aggravation with the intention of inducing fear, harm, annoyance, or aggravation to the victim.

In this article, we will focus ourselves in five areas of harassment:

  1. General harassment.
  2. Sexual Harassment.
  3. Domestic Violence/harassment.
  4. Employement/Job Harassment.

    1. Political harassment.
    2. General harassment: In this scenario, the causes, intention, or motives can be diverse, and harassment can be by any person to any other, male, female, relative etc. Very common in this world of capitalism of man eat man. This includes:
    3. Repeatedly watching or loitering outside of or near the building where the victim resides, works, carries on business, studies, or happens to be.
    4. Repeatedly making abusive telephone calls or causing another person to make abusive telephone calls to the victim, whether or not a conversation ensues.
    5. Repeatedly sending, delivering, or causing the delivery of offensive or abusive letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail, telephone text messages or similar objects to the victim; or
    6. Repeatedly following, pursuing, or accosting the victim with the intention of inducing fear, harm, annoyance, or aggravation to the victim.
      1. Sexual Harassment: These can be by a stranger, friend, relative, boss at work etc. The intention is purely Sexual desires but can also be used as a weapon of conquest. Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults any woman or girl commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.
      2. It shall be no defense to a charge for an indecent assault on a girl under the age of eighteen years to prove that she consented to the act of indecency.

        Any person who, intending to insult the modesty of any woman or girl, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen by such woman or girl, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman or girl, commits a misdemeanor and is liable to imprisonment for one year.

        1. Domestic violence: This takes place in a Home set up where all members can be victims, Husband/ Father, Wife/Mother, Children and or any other dependents. All can be victims or perpetrators. This constitutes any act or omission of a perpetrator which—
        2. harms, injures, or endangers the health, safety, life, limb, or well-being, whether mental or physical, of the victim or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, verbal, and psychological and economic abuse.
        3. harasses, harms, injures, or endangers the victim with a view to coercing him or her or any other person related to him or her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security.
        4. has the effect of threatening the victim or any person related to the victim by any conduct mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b); or
        5. otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the victim.
          1. Employment Harassment: Examples of unfair treatment at work include:
            • Bullying new employees.
            • Discriminating based on gender, ethnicity, and race. This can be in the form of unequal pay, entitlement to leaves, sick pay, maternity leave, paternity leave, pension, and social security Sexually harassing employees
            • Singling out employees, especially those with HIV/AIDs, and making fun of them amongst their co-workers
            • Among all the above, still, Sexual Harassment at Work is the most common where even Male employees are victims.

              The Employment Sexual Harassment Regulations ordered by the Government of Uganda states that an employer with more than twenty-five employees shall adopt a written policy against sexual harassment which includes a notice to employees that sexual harassment is unlawful, a statement of consequences for employees who are found to have committed sexual harassment, and education and training programs on sexual harassment for all employees on a regular basis.  The employer is to also create a sexual harassment committee in which the committee receives and registers complaints of sexual harassment.  Reported cases are investigated by the labor officer.

              1. Political Harassment: This is always between the existing political establishment and those groups which want to take power (opposition). The victims are the latter but always those in power will either deny or will say there was breach of law or public order. This situation is endemic in African and Asiatic countries, though, everywhere the struggle for state power is brazing.
              2. Way forward:

                  • Tighten the law where it lacks.
                  • Ensure Political will for the rule of law to be embraced.
                  • We go away from the old adage -" ignorance of law is no defence" and sensitize the masses about the law.
                  • Reward good behavior as motivation and punish the offenders as a deterrent measure.
                  • Appeal to all stakeholders like religious leaders, Community leaders, School communities etc to join the struggle against any forms of harassment. 

                  • Conclusion:

                    What is very common and indeed factual, is, all Harassment is perpetrated by persons who are in authority or have an advantage in one way, e.g. Supervisors, Parents/Guardians, those in power etc. Ethics, morality, and the law should regulate or make it hard for Harassment to flourish for a better world. 

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