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One in three UN workers say they have been sexually harassed in past two years

One third of UN staff and contractors experienced sexual harassment in the past two years, according to a report released by the United Nations.

The online survey, carried out by Deloitte in November, was completed by 30,364 people from the UN and its agencies – just 17% of those eligible. In a letter to staff, secretary general Antonio Guterres described the response rate as “moderately low”.

“This tells me two things: first, that we still have a long way to go before we are able to fully and openly discuss sexual harassment; and second, that there may also be an ongoing sense of mistrust, perceptions of inaction and lack of accountability.”
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The survey comes amid the wider MeToo movement around the world against sexual harassment and assault.

According to the report, 21.7% of respondents said they were subjected to sexual stories or offensive jokes, 14.2% received offensive remarks about their appearance, body or sexual activities and 13% were targeted by unwelcome attempts to draw them into a discussion on sexual matters.

10.9% said they were subjected to gestures or use of body language of a sexual nature, which embarrassed or offended them, and 10.1% were touched in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.

More than half of those who experienced sexual harassment said it happened in an office environment, while 17.1% said it happened at a work-related social event. Two out of three harassers were male, according to the survey.

Only one in three people said they took action after experiencing sexual harassment.


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