Sunday, September 11, 2011
Project in Progress - SHout Campaign
SHout's (Sexual Harassment Out) objectives are to: create awareness of sexual harassment and have specific laws against sexual harassment. Since I have researched collaborations among Malaysian NGOs, the plan was for me to document the campaign. My role has evolved; retired people can fill in the gaps while others work (for pay).
A press conference was set for September 9 at 11. By the 6th I probably said - "too much to do and too little time." Wiser heads pointed out the need to go ahead to assure ownership of the issue and get parliament's attention. The press release went out on the 7th and follow up calls on the 8th. On the 9th at 11:00 the meeting room was filled almost entirely with NGO members; by 11:15 a healthy contingent of the press had arrived. On the afternoon The Star had published an article. Lessons learned (1) the leadership's experience and political wisdom (wisely) trumped snap decisions, (2) just-in time may be SOP in Malaysia.
SHout is a joint action of 11 groups: All Women's Action Society, Assoc. of Women Lawyers, Bar Council Human Rights Committee, Empower, Malaysian Women Tourist Guides Assoc., Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, PT Foundation, Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women's Section, Sisters in Islam, Women's Aid Organization, Women's Centre for Change.
The press conference had: a power point presentation on the history of advocacy for sexual harassment legislation in Malaysia, short comments by the participating organizations, and an announcement of a logo contest. Among the highlights: the proposed legislation is gender-neutral; a need to recognize the harassment experience by sex workers, the transgendered community, and women who work under "close supervision" and "in isolated situations;" need expand beyond the work place to include to harassment in public spaces. The press conference ended with a photo op - the members shouting out "Shout Out sexual harassment!"
My role continues to evolve. I plan to learn more about Egypt's anti-sexual harassment campaign and the details of Harassmap (www.harassmap.org).