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Study detailing extent of sexual harassment in Jordan released at launch of int’l campaign

By Rana Husseini - Nov 26,2018 - Last updated at Nov 26,2018

AMMAN — Confronting the phenomenon of sexual harassment in Jordan is a matter of high priority which needs to be addressed on a national level, according to a local study revealed on Sunday.

The study was released during the launch of the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign along with Jordan’s motto this year: “Speak Up... Harassment is a Crime”. The Jordanian National Commission for Women’s (JNCW) headquarters hosted the launch.

“The study revealed that 75.9 per cent of individuals in Jordan were subjected to some form of violence in their lives,” said Secretary General of JNCW Salma Nims.

It also revealed that 88 per cent of the victims and 84 per cent of perpetrators knew what constituted harassment, but only 70 per cent of victims and 68 per cent of the perpetrators knew that the law penalises sexual harassment, Nims told the gathering.

A total of 1,366 men and women were surveyed, including 322 of whom were purposely selected because they had perpetrated harassment, she explained. 

The study highlighted the need for a clear definition of the term "sexual harassment" in the Penal Code and an inclusion of all its forms, behaviours and acts.  It also called for the criminalisation and punishment of nonverbal and psychological harassment.

The JNCW has been actively engaged in commemorating the campaign since 2007, which takes place annually from November 25 to December 10 to raise awareness on gender-based violence.

“We hope that the study will contribute to the development and adoption of effective strategies and recommendations for multilevelled and sectoral interventions,” Nims told the gathering, which included diplomats, activists, the media and representatives from the government and civil organisations.

Other launch partners included the JNCW Shamaa Network in collaboration with the United Nations agencies in Jordan, the delegation of the European Union to Jordan, the Women's Economic Linkages and Employment Development Project, funded by Global Affairs Canada and Hivos in Jordan.

Canadian Ambassador to Jordan Peter MacDougall, whose government supported the event through a project with the World University Service of Canada, stressed the important role of men in ending gender-based violence.

“Men must hold themselves and each other accountable and be part of the solution,” MacDougall told the gathering. 

From speaking up about the rights of women and girls, to promoting women’s leadership in every aspect of our society, to standing against violence whenever it occurs, men have a vital role to play in eliminating gender-based violence, he added.

The European Union Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Fontana also addressed the gathering by stressing the EU’s commitment to combating all forms of violence against women.

“This behaviour against women and girls should not be tolerated anymore,” Fontana said, adding, “it is time to move from words to actions. Combating violence against women and girls is a common responsibility that each one of us shoulders”.

“We firmly believe that women and girls, but also men and boys, should stand up and be vocal against violence and harassment,” Fontana stressed.

Also addressing the gathering was UN Women country representative to Jordan, Ziad Sheikh who pointed out that this year’s theme “Hear Me Too” builds on the momentum of global grassroots movements and social media campaigns which have converted isolation into global awareness and action.

The UN official added that many factors had contributed in “silencing millions of survivors of violence such as fear of reprisals, the impact of not being believed and the stigma borne by the survivor”. 

Therefore, Sheikh stressed the need for “the proper and adequate enforcement of laws to make women more confident to speak out against any violation”.

Sheikh also pointed to a recent “historic move by a committee of the UN General Assembly on November 19, which adopted a resolution on sexual harassment that would urge governments to condemn violence against women and girls”. 

“The resolution calls on states to not invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with regard to the elimination of violence against women and girls,” according to Sheikh. 

The campaign consists of around 300 activities including the distribution of awareness-raising material tailored to local communities, radio and TV spots with key messages, live testimonies through social media networks, dozens of workshops and billboards, according to a JNCW press release.

To commemorate the global campaign, JNCW and its partners will engage with social media users during the “orange hour” on December 1 at 7pm and call upon the public to share related advocacy messages, the JNCW press release said. 

The JNCW urged people interested in the cause to join the campaign on social media using the hashtag #Speakupjo and #16daysjo or through visiting the Facebook page:

Main findings of JNCW study on sexual harrassment in Jordan  


  • 89.1 per cent of respondents experienced one or more forms of nonverbal sexual harassment (suggestive gesturing).
  • 88.4 per cent of respondents experienced one or more forms of verbal sexual harassment.
  • 68.7per cent of respondents experienced one or more forms of physical sexual harassment.
  • 80.8 per cent of respondents experienced one or more forms of online sexual harassment.
  • 52.3 per cent of respondents experienced one or more forms of psychological harassment.


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