Namibia lacks policies on sexual harassment in sport

NSC sport development officer Salome Iyambo. Photo: contributed

Despite 33 years of independence, the Namibia Sport Commission (NSC) has failed to implement an explicit policy on sexual harassment in sport.

Speaking to Desert Radio this week, former NSC sport development officer Salome Iiyambo said the NSC has no specific policies dealing with sexual harassment at the NSC level or at national umbrella sport bodies.

However, Iiyambo said sexual harassment of women and young girls in sport can be addressed through the laws of the land.

“You will not find anything within your guiding policy or organisation but there is a clause within the Sport Act.”

Iiyambo called on all national sport federations to ensure that the clause on non-discrimination is copied and pasted into their constitution or statutes guiding their conduct on important issues.

Local sport analyst Isack Hamata said in the sport world, there are various definitions and different forms of exploitation, including of a sexual nature.

Hamata said in terms of sport development categorisation of sexual harassment, sexual abuse or exploitation is not documented or made public.

“It takes various forms but they all amount to exploitation of women and young girls exposed to it from a sexual perspective.

“Coercing them and forcing them, calling them sexual names, really makes them uncomfortable. That could be the definition or explanation around the different forms of sexual harassment against women and young girls in sport.

“Sexual harassment is so pervasive that it is not only against women and young girls but also against sport administrators, those living with sport reporters, it is so bad and it is something that we need to start dealing with.”

Iiyambo said: “In a nutshell, yes, there is always a time to talk about it but there is no specific policy on sexual harassment but is is embedded within the discrimination clause.”

Iiyambo said international and local sport organisations have spoken out widely about sexual harassment as international bodies have taken a stand against the pervasive matter.

She called on local umbrella sport bodies and federations to come up with a safeguarding policy to ensure the issue of harassment of any sort or discrimination is dealt with effectively.

Hamata called for more senior sport bodies like the Namibia National Olympic Committee and the NSC to have safeguarding policies that can be emulated by sport federations.

He said a code of conduct must be embedded so that those found wanting are dealt with effectively.

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