BPW force examines sexual harassment, stalking

The Young Business and Professional Women’s Club, a division of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Grand Cayman, recently formed a taskforce to research and assess the problem of sexual harassment and stalking in the Cayman Islands.

The ultimate objective of the Taskforce is to produce legislative recommendations that will protect male and female victims of sexual harassment and stalking in the Cayman Islands.

Over 30 members of the Young BPW and other young professional women between the ages of 18 and 35 participated in the first taskforce meeting earlier this year in July.

A plan of action was devised and the taskforce was divided into two groups:

Group one is responsible for researching and gathering data on the extent of the problem of sexual harassment and stalking in the Cayman Islands in order to present a persuasive report on the need to change the laws of the Cayman Islands.

Group two will focus on analyzing the existing legislative framework in the Cayman Islands to determine its deficiencies and will draft new legislation where necessary so that victims of sexual harassment and stalking in the Cayman Islands are afforded the necessary protection under the law.

Chairman of the Young BPW Sexual Harassment and Stalking Taskforce, Joannah Bodden, acknowledged that the taskforce has a great deal of work ahead of it, but stressed that the team was absolutely committed to the task ahead.

‘In 2003 the Young BPW held a panel discussion on sexual harassment and stalking. Items discussed included the negative social and personal effects such activities have on the individual and the state of the local legislative framework as it currently exists in the Cayman Islands. It soon became abundantly clear to all present that there was a real need to protect men and women in Cayman from sexual harassment and stalking because our current laws did not effectively deal with these issues,’ she said.

As there is no official data on the subjects of sexual harassment and stalking available in the Cayman Islands, the taskforce is in the initial stages of drafting a survey to collect data and this will be available in early 2006.

The taskforce will also be organising several initiatives during the course of the coming year to help raise funds and awareness. Green silicone ’cause’ bands which say protect on the outside will be offered for an initial donation of at least CI$5, with all proceeds to go to the operating expenses of the taskforce and the remainder to be given to a charity or resource organization which helps victims of sexual harassment and stalking.

Walkathons and district and Sister Islands forums are some of the other fundraising and awareness raising activities the Taskforce will be planning. The public’s participation is important and is encouraged!

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For more information, contact the Taskforce at [email protected].

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