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Anti-harassment law sought
April 24, 2014, 11:09 am

A Kuwaiti lawmaker is pushing for the enacting a law that would make cyber and physical harassment an offence.

“I have drafted a bill that would punish anyone who harasses people in order to satisfy his unconventional needs,” MP Kamel Al Awadhi said. “I have suggested that anyone, a male or a female, found guilty of harassment, be sent to prison for two years and pay a KD5,000 fine,” he said in remarks published by local daily Al Rai on Thursday.

The sentence is double in case the harasser abuses of his or her professional position, he added.

“Harassment has turned into a problem with negative effects to the degree that a university professor has prepared a study on the issue and used the campus as a reference,” he said. “The study is so well documented that there can be no doubts or questions about it.”

Dr Hayfa Al Kindari caused a storm in the northern Arabian Gulf emirate when she talked about the existence of harassment problems at the University of Kuwait.
Although she did specify that it was limited in scope, several people, including fellow staff, attacked her for her claims.

The lawmaker said that several young people have become incredibly audacious in their harassment attitudes.

“They have no concerns about harassing people openly in markets or harassing wives in the presence of their husbands in a development that cannot be accepted or tolerated in any way,” he said.

Al Awadhi said that he was aware that harassment was not limited to males.

“There are women who harass and they too will face the same legal measures in case there is a case filed against them and they are found guilty,” he said. “I have also called for stricter measures against those who abuse their professional positions to harass others. I suggested that the two-year jail term and the fine be doubled in such cases,” he added.

The lawmaker said that the law he wanted to enact would give better protection to victims of cyber and physical bullying.

He defined sexual harassment as “any suggestion or move for the purpose of sexual arousal without the consent of the victim, whether man or woman.”

It includes physical contact, words, telephone conversations and any form of communication that refers or alludes to sex and regardless of whether the initiator is a man or a woman, he said.


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