Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Baldeosingh: Workplace sexual harassment is ‘a relatively rare occurrence’ in T&T

Baldeosingh: Workplace sexual harassment is ‘a relatively rare occurrence’ in T&T

“The IADB-funded National Women’s Health Survey[…] found that […] fewer than 60,000 out of 463,000 women [had been sexually harassed in Trinidad and Tobago]. The most prevalent type of harassment was ‘in the form of electronic messages with sexual content’, which means that most women who were harassed were harassed by persons to whom they had given their contact information.

“Being harassed ‘at work, on the job’ […] seems to be a relatively rare occurrence.”

The following Letter to the Editor, which suggests that sexual harassment on the job is not as widespread as assumed in Trinidad and Tobago, was submitted to Wired868 by Kevin Baldeosingh of Freeport:

Photo: A man gets uncomfortably close to a female co-worker.

In a guest column published here on Wired868 on Monday 7 May 2018, communications consultant and former Witco public relations head Dennise Demming asserts that “We need to pass legislation about sexual harassment and implement sexual harassment policies in ministries, State enterprises and the protective services.”

For the past several months, this has been the parroted #MeToo call from mimic feminists and various media houses, all of whom have been asserting, on no basis save perception and anecdote, that the problem is widespread and pernicious. Because, you know, men.

Now, however, there is some actual empirical data on which a policy response can be based. The IADB-funded National Women’s Health Survey released last week polled 1,079 women aged 15 to 64 and found that “Sexual harassment (at work, on the job, public transport, and virtual spaces) was experienced by 13 percent of women.”

That means that, of the sample, 140 women had been harassed and, if this is extrapolated to the national population, fewer than 60,000 out of 463,000 women.

Moreover, the most prevalent type of harassment was “in the form of electronic messages with sexual content,” which means that most women who were harassed were harassed by persons to whom they had given their contact information.

Photo: A man forces his attentions on a co-worker

Being harassed “at work, on the job” (I don’t know what the Survey’s authors think is the difference between those two) seems to be a relatively rare occurrence.

So the policy question now is this: is sexual harassment so prevalent and so serious as to require the legislative responses desired by Ms Demming and other activists?

Good policy is a matter of trade-offs since costs, both fiscal and social, are always attached to passing laws and regulations.

So is sexual harassment an issue for the heavy hand of the State? Or should effective responses be left within the purview of companies and organisations and, dare I say, individual men and women?

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15 comments

  1. Kevin Baldeosingh is a woman hater so I’m not going to give his article and seriousness.

  2. Just have single sex work places…eezy peezy!!!

  3. So why aren’t people saying anything about women harrassing men and men harrasssing men? This does not also take into account women who are harrassed on their way to work and back home. Why is the workplace emphasized more?

    How are men in the country socialised to approach women? Isn’t carnival a time to partake in each other’s personal space? Doesn’t Carnival start in August and finish in February now? Six months right?

    Are women using the next six months to educate sons, brothers, nephews, grandsons, husbands, etc on what are the ideal ways to approach women so as not to make mistakes?

  4. That upsetting all the same those figures rubbish and so unscientific what kind ah pole was that
    I sure sure sure it way more prevalent

  5. Also the writer makes the following statement:

    “Moreover, the most prevalent type of harassment was “in the form of electronic messages with sexual content,” which means that most women who were harassed were harassed by persons to whom they had given their contact information.”

    Putting aside the fact that writer neglected to mention that being groped in public places (7%) was listed right under harassment via electronic messages (8%) in terms of the most prevalent types of harassment, by his suggestion that “most women who were harassed were harassed by persons to whom they had given their contact information” it seems he is attempting to cast blame on these women for giving the harassers their contact information in the first place. It’s tantamount to the notorious “well she look for it” statement. God forbid those kind of men have some modicum of self control and don’t exploit every opportunity and means to harass women. In any event, and the point should not even have to be made, contact by electronic means does not mean that the women disclosed their contact information. This could be through messages on Facebook by persons who are not in your contact list or a co-worker who has access to your work e-mail.

    His agenda became clearer with every word written…

  6. Is the author suggesting that we wait until there are more incidents of sexual harassment in the work place for the government to establish a policy ( talk about being reactive).
    One incident of sexual harassment in the work place is one too many.
    I think it should also be noted that sexual harassment (of any kind) is not likely to be reported because, there may be a real consequence that the victim might lose his or her job and the attitude or perception by co workers that the victim ‘look for that’.
    Better than that your argument reeks of misogyny.

  7. “That means that, of the sample, 140 women had been harassed and, if this is extrapolated to the national population, fewer than 6,000 out of 463,000 women.” – I’m no mathematician but if that data is exrtrapolated to the national population it would be approximately 60,000 women.

    It would also be good to know the actual ages of the 140 women that stated they experienced harassment on the job.

  8. “That means that, of the sample, 140 women had been harassed and, if this is extrapolated to the national population, fewer than 6,000 out of 463,000 women.” – 13% of 463,000 is actually 60,190 women.

    It would be nice to know of the 1,079 women aged 15 to 64, how many of those women were in the 15-35 age bracket? Additionally, of the 140 women that stated they experienced harassment, what were their ages?

    • Thanks for the correction, Sanika – dunno how I drop that zero. The highest harassment rates were for females 15 to 29 – above the average at 17% to 21% of those five-year cohorts. Note, btw, that I did not say sexual harassment was relatively rare, as the headline asserts – I said WORKPLACE harassment is rare relative to other types.

      • Lasana Liburd

        Thanks Kevin. I will add that zero for you. And sorry for selling you short on the headline. I have adjusted to read “workplace sexual harassment” and not just “sexual harassment”.

        • Noted on the typo. However I found the report and the segment on sexual harrassment. It noted that 19% of women that attained education higher than secondary level experienced sexual harrassment because they were more likely to be employed, as well as aspire to positions that are traditionally male dominated. This did not find it’s way into the piece, for reasons best known to the author, but it does not appear to me that workplace harrassment is “rare”. But I may be asking for too much in wanting that figure to be 0%.