National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) is committed to enforce zero tolerance towards sexual harassment for ensuring a dignified learning and enabling environment both for its students and employees, said Focal Person on anti-sexual harassment of the university.
Dr Erum Monis was giving a talk on “Laws and Policies about Sexual Harassment” at NUMS PWD Campus which was organized by Department of Psychology. Dilating upon the subject she explained the laws governing sexual harassment to create awareness and said that the university had well-defined policy and would never show any leniency in this regard.
NUMS gives familiarization sessions on sexual harassment laws to all its new batches of students getting admission in different departments, to put at rest whatever concerns they may have in this regard, so that they can concentrate on their studies in a peaceful environment, she added .
Prof Dr Shazia Khalid, Head of the NUMS Psychology Department, sharing her observations on psychological impact of sexual harassment said “people have a common perception that sexual harassment is usually fabricated by the victim and it does not exist in our society. The invasion of personal space is never a pleasant experience specially for young girls and boys to whom such experiences are extremely traumatic and have a long-term impact on their emotional and psychological wellbeing.”
“The victims develop a negative worldview and have a pervasive trouble in functioning socially. Therefore, there is a dire need for awareness on anti-sexual harassment laws and policies and we should equip our youngsters to ward off such advances and build confidence in them to reach out to appropriate forums,” added Dr Shazia.
Dr Erum also mentioned that NUMS has taken significant steps of adopting HEC’s ‘Policy on Protection Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace’, which is in line with the ‘Protection of Women at Workplace 2010, ’ and its amendment announced in 2022.
She said NUMS and a Non- Governmental Organization- “Mehergarh”, which is working for women rights, had already signed a 3-year Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) last month to further strengthen measures for congenial environment for women at their workplaces to ensure implementation of laws on sexual harassment.
NUMS encourages open communication between employees and has developed an internal complaint process in line with the law of the land. The process ensures confidentiality and prompt action against the perpetrators, which is reinforced by a mechanism of feedback to continuously improve the system.