Female journalists in the media under the banner of FEJAL, gathered Tuesday, December 10, to brainstorm on fighting Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) at their various workplaces.
The intent of the event is to formerly launch an awareness campaign discouraging sexual harassment among media practitioners.
At the launching program in Monrovia, outgoing Press Union of Liberia president (PUL) Peter Quaqua, praised the organizers for leading the quest to protect and empower women in the media.
He maintained that PUL strongly opposes sexual exploitation by any gender and the newsroom is no exception.
Also making remarks was IREX media specialist, Madam Maurine Sieh, who urged females to speak-out when they are confronted by this ugly practice that is affecting the nation’s younger generation.
She pledged her organization’s commitment and support to media organizations that are engage with the fight against sexual violence.
The program was officially launched by Madam Estella Nelson, head of Liberia Women’s Democracy Radio and Keith Morris, president of the Reporters’ Association of Liberia; both of whom challenged women to rise above barriers that constantly slow down females’ progress in the newsroom.
Madam Nelson said, “This campaign aims to intensify awareness about sexual harassment in the newsroom in order to push media organizations and practitioners to address the problem. I am also a victim of this abuse, and I get irritated and emotional when discussing them. We have to fight this at all levels.”
Female journalists began having gatherings in 2010 about the treatment of women in the media. Some female journalists shared stories about being sexually harassed on the job during the discussion.
Their concerns served as a catalyst for the hosting of a National Conference on the Advancement of Women in the Media.
The coordinator of FEJAL, Torwon S. Browne, told the gathering that their organization, ActionAid, and the Liberia Media Center surveyed women about their experiences in the newsroom with regards to sexual harassment as part of the efforts to sensitize people to SEA and filed a report.
She said that the report realized that 12% of the women surveyed said they had experienced some form of sexual exploitation or harassment.