The #MeToo Movement has spread throughout the world, and the European Union has recently analyzed the presence of sexual harassment in its political arena. This analysis was prompted by several allegations of sexual harassment among European Union Officials in Brussels.
After these allegations were publicized through media sources, the European Union decided to have a meeting to discuss the claims and possible solutions. This meeting was held on October 25 in Strasbourg, France.
At the session, around 45 women and 5 men came forward with their own personal experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace. The session was designed to promote open discussion, and lasted about 90 minutes.
Allegations were made by many, including young assistants and interns who revealed that they had been preyed upon by their superiors in the European Parliament.
The original allegations were prompted by the #MeToo movement, a recent campaign to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault, and promote solidarity between victims. This movement sprung up after the recent sexual harassment scandals, such as that involving Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Since its start, the movement has included 1.7 million people worldwide.
Sexual harassment is a serious issue. It is estimated that approximately one in three women have been a victim of some type of abuse. And women are not the only ones targeted; men can be victims too.
Often, victims are reluctant to come forward out of embarrassment or – in the workplace – out of fear of losing their job or taking a pay cut. Luckily, the #MeToo movement is helping more victims come forward.
The European Parliament is taking these allegations very seriously, and has proposed possible ways to decrease the problem. First of all, more emphasis will be placed on conducting investigations of perpetrators and making sure that these people are punished for their actions. This will ensure that victims are taken seriously when coming forward with allegations.
The ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which would ensure that member states follow a particular legal system when dealing with sexual harassment, is also on the table. However, it has only been ratified by 15 member states at this point.
A final outcome of the Strasbourg session was the proposal of a resolution aimed at decreasing the issue of sexual assault in the European Union. This resolution will soon be voted on.
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