WFP Lao PDR Quick Refresher Module: Zero Tolerance

This is a quick refresher module on sexual violence, sexual harassment, and sexual exploitation and abuse, because it is easy to get these terms confused or forget what to do if it happens to you or someone near you.  These are matters for which WFP has zero tolerance - meaning no such conduct is allowed whatsoever.

Note: If you have not completed the Prevention of Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Authority (HSHAP) mandatory training, you should do that in the Learning Management System (LMS) as a priority.  

To start, click the blue 'Start' button, and on the next page, put the cursor over the course and click 'Start'. There are 17 pages in the course,  and Air Sensomphone has kindly provided audio links in Lao. 

Please provide any feedback on this module to Boonmaly Phisayavong, National Human Resources Officer, [email protected]

Zero Tolerance for Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Overview

 

  • Sexual violence - what is it?

  • Sexual harassment - what is it?
  • Sexual exploitation and abuse - what is it?
  • What is in common between sexual violence, harassment, exploitation and abuse?
  • What is different between sexual violence, harassment, exploitation and abuse?
  • What do I do if I experience sexual violence?
  • What do I do if someone else experiences sexual violence?
  • What can I do if I experience sexual harassment or see someone harassing a colleague?
  • What do I do if I see, find out or suspect someone has sexually exploited or abused a beneficiary?
  • Where can I get more information and learn more?

Sexual violence - what is it?

For Lao audio, click here: 

Sexual violence means any sexual act committed using coercion or without consent. 

Looking more closely...

"Any sexual act"

Examples: rape,  attempted rape, fondling, molestation

"Without consent" 

Examples: the person says no, the person pushes away, is asleep or has passed out intoxicated

It could involve a male or female staff member - it’s not just women who experience sexual violence.

WFP tolerates no acts of sexual violence.

Sexual violence: fill in the blanks

Sexual violence means any   act committed using coercion or without 

Sexual harassment - what is it?

For Lao audio, click here:

Sexual Harassment means any improper conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature, whether on a one-time basis or in a continuous series of incidents, that might reasonably be expected to cause offense or humiliation to another or others; or that another or others might reasonably perceive as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on conditions of employment.

Example: a WFP staff member repeatedly makes comments about how sexy another staff member is, and that they wish they could be naked in bed together.

Looking more closely...

"any  improper conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature"

This could include pressuring a colleague for a date, sending them a naked photo, sexually explicit jokes, making thrusting gestures towards them, rubbing up against them when passing each other in the office, stroking their arm or leg during a meeting, and so on.   

"whether on a one-time basis or in a continuous series of incidents"

It may be acceptable to invite a fellow WFP staff member on a date, but if they say no, it is not acceptable to repeatedly harass them for a date. Similarly it is possible someone accidentally brushed past you in the corridor, but if it happens more than once it is more likely to have been deliberate. It doesn't have to be repeated conduct though - one incident of sending a person a naked photo of yourself could be sexual harassment. 

"that might reasonably be expected to cause offense or humiliation to another or others"

It is no excuse to say that you know the other WFP staff member and they would find it funny or wouldn't take it seriously - if your action might reasonably be expected to be offensive or humiliating, it is not acceptable. 

"or that another or others might reasonably perceive as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on conditions of employment"

This can happen for example if a WFP staff member who distributes a Daily Subsistence Allowance tells a field staff member that they won't get it unless they give them a kiss, or where a WFP staff member interviewing a candidate says they will more likely get the job if they have sex. 

What is not sexual harassment?

It is acceptable to have a consensual relationship outside of the office with another staff member. The point about sexual harassment is that it is unwanted attention which is deliberately given. It is one-sided, and makes the other person feel awkward and uncomfortable. 

Both male and female staff can be harassed or harass others - it is not just men that harass women. 

WFP has a zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

Which one of the following is NOT sexual harassment?

Which one of the following IS sexual harassment?

  • Asking a colleague how their weekend was, instead of staying quiet
  • Inviting a colleague to attend an event, instead of going alone
  • Sitting next to a colleague in the back of a motor vehicle, instead of sitting in the front
  • Putting a name badge directly onto a female's chest, instead of handing it to them to put on themselves
  • Opening the door for a colleague to go through, instead of going through first

Sexual exploitation and abuse - what is it?

For Lao audio, click here:

Sexual exploitation and abuse involves WFP staff or other UN or partners abusing their position of power compared to vulnerable beneficiaries for sexual purposes. This includes exchanging money, employment, goods or services due to beneficiaries, for sex, sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behavior. If the sexual conduct includes physical intrusion then it is sexual abuse. 

Example: WFP staff member gives a student a 50kg bag of rice in return for taking off their clothes and being touched on their private parts. 

This behaviour is completely unacceptable and WFP has a zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse. 

For each of these statements, if you agree it is right, select 'true' and if you think it is wrong, select 'false'

  • It is acceptable to sexually exploit a person in need of food assistance
  • If you are giving someone extra food, you can ask them to do something extra for you
  • It is important that WFP's partners and transporters also avoid sexual exploitation and abuse of beneficiaries
  • A child who is abused will forget it by the time they are older
  • It's better to just say nothing if I see it happening or it happens to me

What is in common (the same) between sexual violence, harassment, exploitation and abuse (choose as many answers that you agree with)?

  • They all involve something sexual
  • They are all things the affected person doesn't like or want to happen
  • They are all things WFP staff members should not do
  • They are disrespectful and unacceptable

What is different between sexual violence, harassment, exploitation and abuse (choose as many answers that you agree with)?

  • Sexual exploitation and abuse relates specifically to conduct involving beneficiaries
  • Sexual harassment may include some physical touching (like arm or shoulder) but if it involves actual penetration or touching of sexual organs it is sexual violence
  • It doesn't matter too much what the differences are, the main thing is knowing they are all unacceptable for WFP staff members

What can I do if someone is sexually violent towards me?

For Lao audio, click here:

You can call the 24/7 critical incident hotline which is staffed by professionals who are trained to respect your privacy and autonomy and who can provide immediate guidance to ensure your safety. Dial 1301 3333 or +39066513 3333.  

You can call the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), Mr. Sisomphone Thammavongsa on 020 555 17219.

There are Peer Support Volunteers who are staff in WFP Lao PDR who have been trained to support colleagues, especially providing emotional support. They are Bouavone Phasouk who is in Oudomxay, and Boonmaly Phisayavong in Vientiane. They can support you by phone and in person. 

What can I do if someone else experiences sexual violence?

If you see it happening, the immediate goal is to stop it. You should not put yourself at risk of harm, as your safety comes first. You could call out loudly for help, or go and get local security or police. You can call the 24/7 critical incident hotline on 1301 3333 or +39066513 3333, and you can call the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), Mr. Sisomphone Thammavongsa on 020 555 17219

If you are with someone who has just experienced sexual violence, your priority is to get them to safety and medical attention, plus to be a reassuring and supportive presence. Do not initiate physically hugging them, as this may further traumatise them. Tell them you are there to help, and get their agreement for you to call the hotline, UNDSS, and/or notify the most senior person in your office.

If someone tells you about sexual violence they experienced some time in the past, you should show empathy and support, and encourage them to reach out to the Peer Support Volunteers who can guide and support them in considering their options.  

What can I do if I experience sexual harassment or see someone harassing a colleague?

If it happens to you or you see it happen to someone else, and you feel safe and comfortable to do so, tell the person that you consider it sexual harassment and that they must stop it. 

You can consult with the Respectful Workplace Advisor, Outhai Sihalath, or a Peer Support Volunteer (Bouavone Phasouk or Boonmaly Phisayavong) - they will listen to you in a supportive way and guide you in considering your options, and steps involved in making a complaint about sexual harassment. 

What can I do if I see, find out or suspect someone has sexually exploited or abused a beneficiary?

For Lao audio, click here:

If you see something, or hear about something, or form a suspicion about somebody sexually exploiting or abusing one or more beneficiaries, you absolutely must report it. There is a confidential WFP hotline you can call on +3906 6513 3663 or email [email protected] You can report to Hakan Tongul, the senior focal point on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (the co-focal point is Bouavone Phasouk). This includes incidents involving a WFP colleague, a partner implementing WFP programmes, a transporter, a government official, or other person involved in providing assistance. Beneficiaries must be protected and respected, and they are in a position of need while others have power and resources, and we must make sure it is not abused.  

Revision: matching exercise

For each option, match the description on the right with the term on the left
  • Sexual violence
    A sexual act done without the person's agreement.
  • Sexual harassment
    A sexual comment or act which is offensive or humiliating.
  • Sexual exploitation and abuse
    Taking sexual advantage of beneficiaries.
  • Zero tolerance
    Something which is totally unacceptable at WFP.

Where can I get more information and learn more?

For English, see the policies on WFPgo. For Lao, see the memo from the Country Director below. 

Thank you from Sarah Gordon-Gibson, Country Director Lao PDR

I appreciate your doing this refresher module, and for serving WFP and the people of Lao PDR with the highest standards of conduct, care and respect. Please feel willing to contact me if you have any concerns - the safety and wellbeing of staff and of beneficiaries is my priority.

Sarah Gordon-Gibson,

Country Director,

Lao PDR