Recently, on social media, ‘Kelvin Nivea’ was exposed for seeking sexual favours in exchange for a job. Maureen Kanana, a student at the Multimedia University was brave enough to post screenshots of the WhatsApp chats to social media. Not all ladies are as brave and strong as Maureen though. Many after going through a long time in job seeking will fall into such traps. Maureen knew better. She knew the difference between being proactive and being desperate. Are You Tired That Issues Of Sexual Harassment And Rape Are Not Taken Seriously? Because #Metoo
On Facebook she said,
“So this guy tried to take advantage of the fact that am a model and I was looking for an activation and he tried to get me to sleep with him for the chance… Whoever knows this guy tell him that he needs to be respectful …”
It’s been more than a week since Maureen spoke, and she has had to protect her Facebook account. It seems like she got some unwanted attention. Worse still, the Kenyan society has the tendency of shaming victims of sexual harassment. Her bravery in exposing what happened to her will not be in vain. There are many insights other young job seekers could get from her experience.
- Know the common tactics of harassers
Kelvin Nivea is a typical harasser. There is nothing unique or new about his strategies; only that they are well mustered. You could tell by his remarks,
“You are not serious for work…. Okay cool, I just wanna help… C’mon be brave and face the world like the other ladies… Coz there is many applicants who want the job too… I wanna teach you how to survive”
After wading through his miserable grammar, I realized that Kelvin was counting on most common job seeker’s weak points in trying to manipulate her. He was hoping to find and use ignorance and naivety against her.
- Don’t be desperate for cash or work
Before agreeing to a job, make sure you know the worth you are deriving from it. Worth doesn’t have to be monetary. It can be measured in terms of exposure and experience. Yes, I dropped the dreaded e-bombs.
There are jobs that will make you rich but return no value to your career. Then there are others that give stipends, connect you with large networks and boost your career growth. Others will offer you both equally.
Don’t get desperate for cash. Desperation exposes your weaknesses to disrespectful men. I loved that Maureen told him that she was no longer interested.
- Know your rights
Anyone who sexually harasses you should be warned and exposed (if possible). Suggestive looks and comments are also termed as sexual harassment. It should not be entertained. He is not ‘just a man being a man.’ There are honourable men who know how to treat women respectfully.
Also, every company has a responsibility to protect its workers from sexual harassment, including the applicants. These rights need to be safeguarded in the workplace.
From Maureen’s side, the conversation never turned flirtatious. Instead, she stood her ground. However, unless you’re collecting evidence against the harasser, don’t probe further. File a complaint with Human Resources or the Police and then move on.
- Don’t blame yourself for harassment
Even if your dress was sweeping the floor and you wrapped a turban, he would still be a harasser. Blaming yourself does not help other potential victims. Do not make excuses for his behaviour.
I loved Maureen’s attitude. After failed attempts to lure her, Kelvin Nivea decided to remind her of the joblessness she was in. The dude says,
“Just continue watching movies and eating kebabs as time elapses.” Then Maureen sarcastically replied, “Good. Keep taking advantage of ladies.”
She knew it is not her fault or the nature of the work that got her harassed. If we needed to blame anyone, it would be the eye-witness doing nothing about it. Never the victim.
Companies should work to make sure that they have a policy about sexual harassment, and have training to sensitive employees on what sexual harassment is all about. Here is How Companies Can Protect Their Workers From Sexual Harassment