'Tackle sexual harassment of men'

KUALA LUMPUR: A women's rights group has called for more action against sexual harassment against men, saying a change of mindset was "crucial".

"Sexual harassment is about power dynamics and inappropriate behaviour," said All Women's Action Society (Awam) senior advocacy officer Amanda Shweeta Louis.

She said it was important to break the stereotype of men not showing emotion and must be invulnerable.

"More must be done to encourage open dialogue and to provide safe spaces for men to come forward with their experiences."

This must be accompanied by more education and awareness programmes in schools and workplaces, Louis said.

"Media representation that portrays men as potential survivors can also help challenge stereotypes," she told the New Straits Times.

She said how authorities respond to reports of sexual harassment was also important.

"The authorities should provide clear information, ensure confidentiality and affirm their responses to create safe spaces and encourage people to lodge reports.

"This is essential for men who may face additional barriers, such as societal expectations to be masculine or fears of not being taken seriously."

Louis said Awam had initiated a movement of men and boys working towards ending gender-based violence, promoting healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity, which includes encouraging men to speak out.

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