Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace in Vanuatu – 2022 study

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Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. 

Sexual Harassment can be in different forms, such as;

  • Sexual assault or rape
  • Physical harassment (including kissing, patting, pinching or touching in a sexual manner, poking, hugging, brushing up against a person or putting an arm around them)
  • Strip search or forced nudity
  • Verbal harassment (such as unwelcome comments about a person’s appearance, private life or body, or insults and put-downs based on a person’s sex)
  • Gestural harassment (or sexually suggestive gestures such as winks, nods, leering, gestures with hands, fingers, legs or licking of lips)
  • Indecent exposure or flashing
  • Written or graphic harassment (including displays of pornographic materials, offensive letters, e-mails, social media, Facebook, crude jokes)
  • Emotional harassment (including offensive phone calls, texts or instant messages, sexual propositions or persistent requests for dates)

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Unfortunately, sexual harassment can also occur in the workplace. In early 2022, Sista conducted a survey to find out the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Although Vanuatu is a signatory of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), we have not adopted any sexual harassment legislation. Vanuatu has also ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to live and work free from violence and harassment”, but violence and harassment against women remains prevalent in all sectors of the workforce.

62 women participated in the survey and findings showed that:

  • 66% of women have experienced sexual harassment at their workplace
  • Single women and girls experience the most sexual harassment at their workplace
  • 54% of girls and women between the ages of 16 – 29 years have experienced a higher rate of sexual harassment at the workplace.
  • 79% of sexual harassment cases at the work place were NOT reported

Verbal harassment, followed by gestural harassment and physical harassment were the most prevalent types of sexual harassment experienced in the workplace.

Women did not report due to the normalisation of sexual harassment, or faced unclear strategies on how to report. Many workplaces do not have sexual harassment policies.

Sexual harassment and violence in the workplace has serious consequences for women and girls. It affects their safety, health and well-being, but also their ability to access, participate, and progress fully and equally, in society and the economy.

Workplace sexual harassment and violence also affects their families and communities. It affects the reputation of the workplace, workplace productivity, the economy, and a country’s ability to make meaningful progress in social equality and inclusion.

What to do when experiencing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Step 1: If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, firstly talk to your manager or superior about your case, for them to deal with it according to your Sexual Harassment Policy.

Step 2. If you need assistance, you can go to Vanuatu Women’s Centre for consultation and counselling or call them on their free line 161.

Step 3. If sexual harassment worsens into violence, threats or sexual assault, you can report this to the police by calling 111 or contacting your local police force.


Seksual harassment hemi ol kaen fasin o aksen we I soem seksual aksen we narafala i no wantem, o askem, o agri long hem.

Seksual harasmen hemi save hapen long plante weis olsem;

  • Taem wan man i tajem mo holem nokut yu.
  • Taem wan man hem i yusum body blong yu blong filim gud nomo
  • Taem wan man i fosem yu blong tekemaot klos blong yu
  • Taem wan man hem i toktok nogud long yu
  • Taem wan man hem i singaot yu, wisel, mekem saen long body blong hem we hem i no stret mo hem i nogat rispek
  • Taem wan man hem i soem praevet pat blong hem long yu
  • Taem wan man hem i sendem/soem ol foto mo vidio blong ponokrafi
  • Taem wan man hem i stap sendem ol mesej mo kolem yu blong askem yu blong silip wetem hem o hemi askem yu blong sendem ol photo mo video blong praevet pat blong yu long hem
  • Taem wan man hem i wokem sendem ol mesej mo kolem yu blong talem nogut fasin mo body blong yu long wan wei weh hem i no stret mo hem i disrespektem yu blong mekem yu harem nogud.

Seksual harasmen long Wokples. 

Seksual harassmen hemi save hapen tu long wok ples. Earli long 2022, Sista hemi kontaktem wan survey blong faenemaot moa abaotem seksual harassment long wokples.

Vanuatu hemi pat long agrimen blong stopem ol diferen kaen diskriminesen agensem ol woman (CEDAW), yumi nogat eni law blong seksual harasmen long Vanuatu.  Vanuatu hemi kivim fomal konsen blong hem long Universal Declaration blong Human’s Rights we hemi talem se “everiwan oli gat raet blong stap long wol ia mo wok  long wan ples we hemi fri long vaelens mo harasmen”, be vaelens mo harasmen agensem ol woman hemi stap yet long evri sekta long wokfos.

62 women oli participate long survey ia mo ol risal i soem se:

  • 66% blong ol woman oli bin eskperiensem seksual harasmen long wok ples.
  • Ol singel woman mo ol gel oli eksperiensem plante seksual harasmen long wok ples..
  • 54% blong o gel mo ol woman we yia blong olgeta i stat long 16 – 25 oli eksperiensem wan hae namba blong seksual harasmen long wokples.
  • 79% blong ol kes blong seksual harasmen long wok ples oli not bin ripotem olgeta.

Wanem blong mekem taem yu eksperiensem Sexual Harasmen 

Step 1: Sapos yu stap eksperiensem sexual harasmen long wok ples, fes samting blong mekem hemi blong tokbaot kes blong yu wetem maneja o boss blong yu, blong olgeta i save dil wetem folem seksual polisi blong wok ples blong yufala.

Step 2. Sapos yu nidim help, yu save go long Vanuatu Women’s Centre o kolem fri laen blong olgeta long 161.

Step 3. Sapos seksual harasmen ia hemi kasem wan poen we i gat vaelens, treatening o seksual asolt, yu save ripotem long Polis tru long namba ia 111 o kasem eni locol Polis Fos long eria we yu stap long hem.