SHEP is a non-profit organisation with its head office in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. SHEP was founded to serve the Labour Movement and other organisations that engage, support, and provide programmes around sexual oppression and harassment. Throughout our programmes we use the train the trainer approach. The organization, operations and programmes are grounded on the following principle:
· SHEP works to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace and to improve access to justice in the labour arena.
Miriam Altman founded the organization in 1993. She realized the need for a project to meet the needs of working women who were experiencing sexual harassment in the work place. A support structure was formed with the participation of the COSATU Women’s Committee to take the issues up within their unions and gather support for the issue to be tabled and endorsed by the EXCO of COSATU in 1995. Thus the organization was formally launched. SHEP was initially established as a pilot project with a two-year life span, but due to the nature of sexual harassment the pilot turned into a fully-fledged organization.
Aims of SHEP
· Eliminating sexual harassment in the work place. · Eliminating bias in the work place and the justice system. · Enabling working women to gain access to justice in issues of sexual harassment and gender relations.
The Key Objectives of SHEP
· Promoting social and legal justice for working women. · Engaging in research and monitoring which supports the activities of SHEP. · Providing education and training. · Providing a referral service for people who have been sexually harassed. · Networking and supporting organizations/campaigns with similar objectives. · Conducting campaigns. · Developing educational materials around sexual harassment.
SHEP Rural Initiative
SHEP has opened an office in the Western Cape in January 2002. Although the pilot project focuses primarily on women farm workers we include men and boys in our programmes. Men are part of the problem and therefore should be part of the solution. The occurrence of domestic violence, sexual harassment especially rape in rural areas are especially grave, boosted by alcohol/drug abuse as well as an increase in unemployment and retrenchments on farms. Since 1994 the South African Government ensured in the constitution and other legislation that women are protected and have equal opportunities. Yet women workers in rural areas are still the most marginalised group. Added to this are the many factors that keep them from reporting crimes. These include lack of law enforcement, fearing the police, isolation, illiteracy, fear of what perpetrators might do to them and a range of other issues. SHEP Rural Initiative desperately needs volunteers to assist with the completing of questionnaires that is part of the research methodology. This entails one on one interviewing with workers on their farms. Due to limited funding though we are unable to pay volunteers at this stage. SHEP can assist with transport.
SHEP’s programmes focus on:
Training and awareness - raising
Developing of rules and procedures, including codes of conduct, grievance &disciplinary procedures
Producing educational materials
Promoting changes to the law
Operating a resource materials centre
Providing advisory and referral services HIV/AIDS
Providing policy and strategic guidance for action for a National Aids Control Programme
Advocacy for the MTCT (mother to child prevention) programme
Awareness raising and training
Moving towards training of home-based healthcare providers
Research about the socio-economic factors related to the spread of HIV/AIDS
Sexual Harassment and Abuse Workshops
Some of SHEP’s long-term goals are:
1. To establish a halfway home for survivors of sexual harassment where victims could recover and draw the strength to pick up the pieces again.
2. To set up multipurpose centers owned and run by communities themselves where people can gain access to legal advice, healthcare, psychological treatment and other services.
The Sexual Harassment Education Project is in a process of building and strengthening close working relationships and partnerships with countries, organisations, groups and individuals with the same sentiments worldwide. SHEP believe that cross-fertilization of ideas is of great importance in building stronger organisations to their fullest capacity. It would widen opportunities to learn from one another, learn different cultures and bring understanding of the plight of the most marginalised peoples.