Men also face sexual harassment at workplace, says Yeoh

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh says reports of alleged sexual harassment must be given serious attention.

SUNGAI PETANI: Men have also been victims of sexual harassment at the workplace, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said.

She said statistics from the police from 2013 to 2017 showed that 257 men had reported being victims of sexual harassment out of the total of 1,218 cases.

The rest of the victims were women, she told reporters after opening a seminar on Handling Sexual Harassment at the Workplace at the Northern Region Institute of Public Administration (Intan) here today.

“Indeed, there have been sexual harassment cases involving male victims.

“In some instances, they shied away from reporting as they feared that no one would believe them of being sexually harassed.

“These were among the obstacles that prevented them from lodging a report,” she said.

Yeoh said reports on alleged sexual harassment should not be brushed aside but be given serious attention so that investigations could be conducted.

Earlier, in her speech, Yeoh said 1,187 out of the 1,218 cases of sexual harassment were still under investigation while 31 individuals had been charged under Section 509 of the Penal Code.

She believed there were a number of unreported cases of sexual harassment at the workplace because of such factors as difficulty in lodging reports.

“Besides, the victim has to face the perpetrator at the workplace throughout the investigation period, which could even be more traumatic for the victim, while also facing the perception of others with regard to the case,” she said.

Yeoh said the ministry was waiting for the results of an impact study which would serve as a guideline in drawing up the Sexual Harassment Act and in improving existing regulations.

“The act will also focus on penalising those not acting on the sexual harassment report or complaint made, shortening the standard operating procedure (SOP) during the investigation, and improving the mechanism to ease lodging a report,” she said.