By Esther Chineye Mbabie

Women in South Sudan are the victims of extreme sexual violence, according to UN officials [Caitlin McGee/Al Jazeera]

The word subtle should never sit with the word harassment. They are not friends, they have never been and will never be. As a matter of fact, I will like to believe “subtle” feels “harassed” whenever it is used side by side with “harassment”.

Having established that there is nothing about harassment that is subtle, it is also necessary to establish that our society has been built on a foundation of many cultures and norms that may prevent us from realising the “subtle” things around us that imply harassment or harassing tendencies. Many times, we may not even see the harm in these acts until we are on the receiving side. While sometimes harassment can be obvious to every bystander, many other times, it looks like a harmless touch, question or conversation.

There is a serious need to realise many of these acts and point them out/correct them once we notice them.

From a boss’s soft touch on the lips to a colleague’s unrequired rub on the back, people are “subtly” being harassed.

Below are some experiences of various women on “subtle” acts that made them feel harassed.

As imperfect humans that we are, we may unknowingly be responsible for such acts as we may be unaware of some boundaries, hence, we can all learn from the following experiences.

1. Rachael: One time, a guy held my hand against my will.

2) Ayanfe-A guy talked about my body and referred to it as small

3) Tobi- Asking me questions relating to sex openly.

4)Oladayo- One of my lecturers hit my bum once when I stared at him angrily. He said, “it was a mistake, why are you doing as if you don’t understand”. I could not push it further.

5) Ewa-A guy asked if I was a Virgin that he will like to “straff” me (in those words).

6) Gift- My boss touched me on the lips while trying to tell me to never be afraid to ask questions in the office. I didn’t understand what was happening at the moment as I was very confused.

7) Ibukun- My second meeting with this man, he held my hands. After I told him I did not like it as I did not know him long enough for him to hold my hands, he still firmly

Source: Above Whispers

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