Sexual harassment

Attorney Fajer Ahmed

Sexual harassment can be very hard to deal with. Some women feel like they are the ones who are being blamed or they are the ones who should be ashamed, but in reality, it is not just females who have difficulty dealing with sexual harassment or harassment in general. Harassment comes in many different forms – sometimes a woman may harass a man, or a man might harass a woman by making remarks about women in general. The law specifically only punishes sexual harassment though, and today I answer major questions regarding harassment.

Punishments
Question: I would like to know what are the punishments by law for those who sexually harass?
Fajer: The answer differs to the extent of the act of sexual harassment and the circumstances surrounding it. Here are a few examples – if the act is done through hate, threats or deceit, it shall be punished by up to 15 years of imprisonment. If the act is done by a guardian – any guardian and not necessary a legal guardian – such a parent, uncle, teacher, caretaker, etc, then the punishment will be up to life imprisonment. It also depends on the state of the victim. If the victim is under the legal age, not mentally stable, or not mentally capable of understanding the nature of the act, then the punishment will be up to life imprisonment.
You can find below the articles of sexual harassment.
Article 191 of the Kuwait penal code states:
* Any person who sexually harasses another through hate, threats or deceit shall be punished by up to 15 years of imprisonment.
* If the victim is related to the harasser, or is under his/her upbringing (eg uncle, aunt, teacher, domestic worker so on), then he/she shall be punished with life imprisonment.
* If the victim is under the legal age, not mentally stable, or unable to know the nature of the act, then the harasser shall be punished with life imprisonment.

Article 192 of Kuwait penal code states:
* Any person that sexually harasses another without hate, threats or deceit shall be punished by up to 10 years of imprisonment.
* If the victim is related to the harasser, or is under his/her upbringing (eg uncle, aunt, teacher, domestic worker so on), then he/she shall be punished by up to 15 years of imprisonment.
As you can see, the punishments are for “any person” regardless of their gender.

Absurd
Question: Recently my boss has been asking me work through text messages, which I am fine with, but as time went on, he kept discussing more private matters. Two days ago, he told me that if I let him in bed with me, he will give me a promotion. This is absurd, so of course I refused, but now I am afraid it will affect my job. What can I do?
Fajer: Please talk to someone and do not keep it to yourself. It is very important to reach out, even if it is just to a friend. It is also important to report the person to the police – as a woman myself, I know how annoying and difficult it is to deal with harassment, but the police are here to help. Also, if you work for a large company and you have an HR department, I suggest you speak to them as they may be able to make changes internally. If you would like to go legal and take it a step further, then you can file a complaint at the police station nearest to where the incident happened.

Virtually
Question: If someone is bothering me virtually and not in person, as in sending me emails with sexual content, is there anything I can do about it?
Fajer: As I mentioned in the first question, this depends on how you feel and how badly it is affecting you. You have to weigh it out. If you think that it is affecting your day-to-day life, then you need to take action, and Kuwaiti law does protect you. In fact the new cybercrime law does discuss situations that can affect victims online, and there is a department under the interior ministry specialized in such cases.

Should you have any questions or concerns, or you require a consultation, please email me at ask@fajerthelawyer.com.

By Attorney Fajer Ahmed

 

This article was published on 05/11/2017