BRUSSELS: Shadowing the global path of the #MeToo movement and its fight against sexual assault, a group of workers in the European Parliament (EP) representing different nationalities launched a movement titled “MeTooEP” on March 8.
The movement that endeavors to fight sexual harassment and assault transpiring among the walls of the EP received 1,000 signatures from trainees, staff, political advisors, assistants, and others within the course of a week. The emblems echoed the need to save and protect workers and ensure that the “house is in order.”
“We do not want sexual harassment in the European Parliament, we do not want sexual harassment in the house of the European citizens,” said Arantxa Calvera, a Parliament Assistant.
Enduring in the combat and, not too far after its initial commencement, the movement instigated a blog on October 9, 2018 that presents the anonymous testimonies of different workers who have been victims of sexual harassment within the institution during a press conference held at the EP.
Accessible to anyone through www.metooep.com, the blog allows people from the Parliament and citizens to go over cases of sexual harassment, understand what harassment is and what actions are considered as sexual assault, and share their own stories and even join the movement.
Most importantly, the blog also plays the role of reinforcing the movement’s presence and resonating the importance of protecting workers from any type of harassment as stated in Article 12a) of the European Parliament’ staff regulations.
“We are here because sexual harassment is still happening and because we are not fully satisfied by the measures taken by the European Parliament,” said Jeanne Ponte, initiator of the MeTooEP. “Sexual harassment is not about jokes or seduction.” Adding that the blog will be a “safe space for workers” to share their stories.
In whole, the project aims at lobbying the EP to act against sexual harassment.
Although in 2017, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favor of resolution 2017/2897(RSP), a resolution falling under the topical subjects’ category and requiring action from the Parliament when faced with cases of sexual harassment, not much change has been made so far.
The movement thus, demands the implementation of three vital points found in the resolution. Those include: referring to independent experts on what defines sexual harassment, training of MEPs on what is considered sexual assault or harassment, and creating an anti-harassment committee.
“Our work could be resumed in four words: Look, Listen, Ask and Act,” said Ponte.
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