Women, report sexual assault!

Being sexually assaulted is definitely a very painful experience which has a huge impact on a victim’s life. At the same time, it is the attack on so delicate private sphere that not many survivors decide to report the crime to the police. While even 20% of college women had this terrible experience, two-thirds of such incidents remain unreported.

Actually, this crime is the most unreported one in America. It is a very sad truth, since we must be aware that rapists usually continue their contemptible activity until they finally end up in jail. What if nobody decides to report the criminal’s deeds? More women can be hurt.

It is hard for victims to talk about rape, but we really need to understand that it is both our right and responsibility to find justice and also protect the rest of society from deviants. You may be ashamed or feel guilty, but know that it is not your fault, no matter what. Nothing justifies sexual violence.

Don’t be afraid!

It is important to find courage and take action to punish the rapist. Below you can find some tips which will tell you what to do if you want to report sexual assault.

  1. Report the crime as soon as possible.
    If you have a phone just call 911 and tell what have happened. In this way, your case will be much stronger. Evidence will be fresh and witnesses and even the assailant will be interviewed. Remember that DNA from semen survives up to 72 hours so time really counts here.
  2. Think about the evidence which is right on your body such as hairs, skin cells, clothing fibers.
    Survivors usually want to clean themselves immediately, which is justifiable, but in this way they remove the precious evidence.
  3. Go to hospital to have a rape kit done.
    A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is present in many hospitals. Her task is to examine your injuries, collect evidence and write down the statement of what have happened. You will also receive medicine thanks to which, you will avoid potential diseases and pregnancy.
  4. Even if it happened on campus, report it to the local police not to your university.
    What punishment can be done by your college? Expelling the assailant from campus. Would you find it satisfying? Hardly. The criminal justice system can guarantee more severe types of punishment (including jail of course).
  5. It is never too late to report the sexual assault.
    It is still possible to win a case even after years. Nowadays, there are programs which inform about reports even if victims are not sure whether to press charges or not. Using it, you can check if your assailant have been reported before.
  6. You must be strong.
    Nobody guarantees you that your case will be won. However, reporting sexual assaults is very important in itself. It shows the assailants that they cannot feel unchastised, because women are too weak to go to police. Keeping this under cover gives more assent for such behavior.
  7. Do not let this experience ruin your life.
    You may need professional help and do not hesitate to ask for one. You were hurt once, you do not need to suffer more. Let other people help you. The worst thing you could do is to feel guilty. No, you are NOT guilty.

An Employment Complaint – complaints against employers

If you as an employee feel dissatisfied with your work conditions or your employer’s certain actions or behavior, you have the right to complain. Such complaints against employers usually regard, for example: wage, working hours, discrimination, work conditions, harassment, termination, promotion or some other circumstances in which workers are treated unfair. You can file a complaint so as to demand either a reward or a change of your employer’s behavior. An employment complaint is just an employee’s complaint which is filed against employer, supervisor, or company.

Filing a complaint step by step

Step 1:

A complaint statement should be filed with your company’s internal human resources (HR) department (if it is possible). Although it is not always possible and often turns out to be insufficient, it  sometimes helps find a temporary solution.

Step 2:

The employee files the complaint with a government agency. Various agencies deal with specific employment-related problems, so for example if your complaint concerns discrimination or hiring, you should choose the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If it is about safety at work, you choose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Step 3:

The government agency investigates the complaint. If they decide that the employer really is guilty of what you have accused him, they may order him to give a gratuity for the damages or to change work policy.

What if you are not satisfied, since the agency did not order any reward for you? You may go to the civil court. Your second option is to file a private lawsuit. However, please note that this step can be only made after unsuccessful filing with the agency.

Other things you should know

First of all, if you are not familiar with the topic enough, filing a complaint against your employer can turn out quite complicated. It generally demands some amount of your time, energy, determination and knowledge. So as to avoid unnecessary stress and mistakes, you can hire an employment lawyer who will help you go through the whole process more smoothly. He can be your representative during hearings.

What is more, any documents and written statements included in the complaint that you file, will be much more “powerful” evidence than only oral statements. What can be relevant? For example: transcripts, wage stubs, hiring or firing forms and any other things which would prove your point. Also if you have a witness and you would like to present his/her statement, you should attach this in the written form.

Verbal harassment in the workplace

Experiencing verbal abuse in your workplace is a very unpleasant situation. If you have such experience, you may feel cornered because on one hand, you would like to do something with this problem and on the other, you are afraid of losing your job and income. Quitting (and thus, showing that the abuser is the winner) can help, but it will not teach the person anything about his reprehensible behavior (which will probably be turned towards another victim as soon as you leave). First of all, you should know what your rights are and how to use them to fight the abuser off.

But whose problem is it actually? If you are a business owner you need to realize that it is your task to protect employees from such nuisances. Unless you want to take the consequences of your negligence.

In 2010 The U.S. Workforce Bullying Institute asked workers whether they had ever been bullied at work. 35 percent of them admitted that they had such unpleasant experiences. One of the most frequent forms of bullying is verbal abuse. It is a very sad statistic which says a lot about our workplace reality which is still far from ideality. All business owners should be aware of it and take a necessary action.

The typical abuser usually has a higher position in a company which makes him feel more untouchable and  powerful. He or she often gathers a group of “admirers” who play this role so as to avoid being a next victim. Having the public, the abuser feels even stronger and more willing to show his power. What is very important, such a person plays nice and friendly in front of you and he acts as a tyrant in your company.

The fact is that although there are no laws which would protect workers from verbal abuse, you as the company owner are responsible for creating a friendly workplace for your employees. Thanks to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, you can be held liable if you fail to do so.

What should you do to avoid such situation? Firstly, show your employees that they have right to tell if one of the workers is abusing them. Then, if there really is such an abuser among your workers, you must definitely take action and warn the person that this kind of behavior will not be accepted again. If it does not help, you must be prepared for more serious actions (including dismissing him).

It may seem trivial sometimes (we can meet bullies in schools, but such childish attitudes among adult people?), but it definitely is not. If your worker does not feel satisfied with your action protecting him from a bully, he or she may go to court. Therefore, business owners should never ignore any signs of or suspicions about bullying in their companies. Reaction must be firm and solve the problem before it becomes much more serious.

Right to water

Resolution 64/292 from 28 July 2010 accepted by the United Nations General Assembly established that the realization of all the human rights cannot be continued without satisfying the essential human needs which are clean drinking water and sanitation. This Resolution draws the attention of States and international organizations to the problem of lack of these essentials in developing countries and thus, the urgent need for financial help to improve the situation. Safe, clean and accessible water and sanitation have to be provided for all.

What is needed?

  • World Health Organisation (WHO) informs that 50-100 liters of water is needed for one person per day, in order to enable him or her to satisfy the basic needs. The water supplies must be sufficient and continuous, so as to make it possible to satisfy the needs of drinking, personal sanitation, hygiene, washing clothes and preparing meals.
  • The water must be safe which means that it is free from dangerous organisms or substances. There are the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for drinking-water quality which specify the needed standards ensuring safety of drinking water.
  • Water and sanitation must be within easy reach for everyone. WHO established that the source of water has to be placed no further than 1,000 meters from the home and the time to get water cannot be longer than 30 minutes.
  • Water has to be affordable for everybody. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) informs that water cost per household should be not higher than 3 percent of its whole income.
  • Water must be acceptable. All water facilities and services must operate in accordance with certain culture and gender, lifecycle and privacy requirements.

Drinking water facts

  • Rural regions of Sub-Saharan Africa rely on unprotected wells which are potential sources of many pathogens. Millions of the inhabitants in this area share water sources with animals.
  • Women in Africa and Asia go averagely 6 kilometers to get water for their household.
  • In Europe the average amount of water used every day is somewhere between 200-300 liters. Less than 10 liters of water is used in Mozambique, which is caused by the long distance between the water source and home.
  • A lactating woman needs about 7.5 liters of water a day.
  • Around half of the people living in developing countries suffer from illnesses caused by bad water and sanitation conditions. Unsafe water and poor sanitation are together the second biggest children killer in the world.
  • In Tajikistan a third of inhabitants uses water from canals and irrigation ditches.
  • In Senegal over a half of 5000 surveyed schools had no water supply and almost a half had no sanitation facilities. If there is sanitation at school, often it is for both boys and girls, which results in girls avoiding using it.
  • In slum areas of Jakarta, Manila and Nairobi water costs are 5 to 10 times higher than in high-income areas in those same cities and in London or New York.

UN initiatives to solve the problem:

  • Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/18/1
  • World Health Assembly Resolution 64/24
  • Appointment of an independent expert