Georgian women are speaking out more openly about sexual harassment " />

Georgia may pass a law on sexual harassment

Georgian women are speaking out more openly about sexual harassment

The Committee for the Protection of Human Rights of the Parliament of Georgia has reviewed a petition made by the Women’s Movement, whose main demand is to pass a bill criminalizing sexual harassment.

Over a thousand people signed the petition which was released at the end of October.

“We demand a legislative prohibition of sexual harassment,” the petition notes. The signatories demand that the Labor Code as well as the Code of Administrative Offenses be amended in order to put an end to sexual harassment, sexual harassment at work and in public spaces.

“Under ‘infringement on sexual grounds in public spaces’, we mean comments of a sexual nature, lewd jokes, cat-calling, persistent harassment with a request for a meeting or to give one’s phone number, touching, showing genitals, etc.

“Sexual harassment in the work place is often expressed by unwanted compliments with a sexual component; the offers of those in charge to engage in sexual activity in order to move further up the career ladder or with the threat of being fired,” the petition says.

The Human Rights Committee found the petition timely and, after consideration, redirected it to the Gender Council.

• MeToo is used as a hashtag on Facebook and twitter to protest sexual harassment against women. The campaign which was begun by the actress Alicia Milano on Twitter. In just a few hours the cause was supported by tens of thousands of people including people in Georgia.

• Special attention has been brought to the blog of a lawyer on human and women’s rights issues, Mari Kurtanizde, who published her memories of sexual harassment which she experienced at 15 years old from one of her math teachers.

Before that, journalist Tatia Samkharadze accused television host Shalva Ramishvili of sexual harassment. In the special report of the ombudsman of Georgia for 2015 on the ‘the legal status of women and gender equality’, it is mentioned that sexual harassment at work is a wide-spread however hidden problem in the country.

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