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Addressing sexual misconduct in the humanitarian sector: What if it were you?

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Manual and Guideline
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WHY ARE WE HERE TODAY? WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

AIM: Setting the scene and sharing key messages (estimated time 5 minutes)

TALKING POINTS:

Speaker’s guide: Speakers may wish to highlight the following key messages by way of introduction.

  • Sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment inflict intolerable harm on the victims, their families, and their communities; it affects many aspects of their lives, their interactions with others, and their safety and well-being.

  • When humanitarian workers abuse the very people they are meant to be helping, this is one of the gravest violations of the trust placed in them. It is similarly unacceptable when colleagues or partners are targeted.

  • The damage done can also have a major negative impact on our credibility and funding which, in turn hampers our ability to deliver and support people, thus causing further harm.

  • It is positive, however, that incidents are coming to light. More and more, victims/survivors have started to speak up. One can never underestimate the amount of courage this takes and we must find every way possible to lighten this burden.

  • Victims must be at the centre of everything we do.

  • It is true that the vast majority of us are committed professionals. But these abuses do happen and we need to work together to understand why and how to prevent them. One incident is one too many.

  • We have brought together our efforts to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment as they are both rooted in power differentials and gender inequalities, and the needs of victims are similar.

  • We need to foster workplaces of inclusion, respect and accountability, where sexual misconduct is not tolerated. We have made a lot of progress internally and with our partners in addressing this issue, but we need to recognize the complexities of this task and that we still have a long way to go on this collective journey.