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Sexual Harassment and Culture Essay


The contemporary workplace has transformed a great deal compared to a few decades ago. Both diversity and multiculturalism are now more dominant than ever before as occasioned by the impact of globalization. As a result, employers can hardly disregard the cultural-based influences brought about by other workers at the place of work.

Hence, the understanding of sexual harassment can only be vivid when explored in terms of cross-cultural dimensions. Nonetheless, it is imperative to note that the characterization of sexual harassment might be complex since its actual meaning has not been adequately comprehended even within a single culture (Saguy, 2003).

In retrospect, sexual harassment has been a subject of debate for ages especially when elements such as human resource management are brought on board. Furthermore, the debate is not merely concentrated at a local level, it is rather widespread.

The attempt to give meaning to the concept of sexual harassment is further complicated by the fact that the environment that is multicultural in nature is also put into account. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this concept when ideas from myriad of cultures are all considered.

For instance, the understanding of sexual harassment in one culture may be completely different from another one, or even complement each other. What might be a norm in one culture may be a taboo in another and vice versa. Better still; values that are cherished in one culture may totally be repugnant in another one.

On the same note, the way an employer will respond to sexual harassment issues arising at workplace will be dictated by cultural elements. Hence, the process of demonstrating the impacts of visualizing sexual harassment based on cultural ideals requires shrewd consideration of certain implicit factors. For example, both workers and managers should be educated on the relevance of cultural diversity.

Besides, cultural psychology should be made use especially when handling court cases that are addressing disputes emanating from sexual harassment and finally, due consideration should be made on standards and policies that are being used on different personalities, bearing in mind their cultural values. This paper explores the intrigues of sexual harassment and cultural diversity and the debate surrounding the concept.

Sexual Harassment in Schools

Sexual harassment can also prevail in educational institutions. The amendment of the Hong Kong’s Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) law that was adopted on 3rd October 2008 witnessed the incorporation of educational settings as one of the areas where sexual harassment offense can take place (the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 2009).

According to the amendment, sexual harassment in educational institutions entails the creation of an antagonistic and threatening learning environment. The new law further specifies that the leadership of schools has the responsibility of making sure that students and the rest of the school community are co-exist in a school environment that is free of any form of sexual harassment.

These guidelines have also been emphasized by the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) reiterating that schools should take pragmatic measures in providing a favourable atmosphere suitable for learning. According to the commission, this can be achieved by developing work contracts for employees as well as discipline code of conduct for students in written form.

The schools should ensure that the stated rules and regulations are stated to the letter. Besides, all complaints arising from sexual harassment cases should be dealt with decisively by the school administration.

A cultural viewpoint on sexual harassment

As a business hub in the world, Hong Kong is an important centre for conducting international business. Most of the inhabitants of the country are people of Chinese origin. The tourist flow in and out of Hong Kong is relatively impressive throughout the twelve calendar months, qualifying the nation as an equal opportunity employer in Asia.

In spite of the Chinese dominance, the cultural values and practices of Hong Kong people are distinct from the Chinese ones. The Hong Kong constitution and other by-laws are largely influenced affected by the legislation derived from its former colonizer, Britain as well as what is referred to as common law.

The Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) piece of legislation describes the sexual harassment law with respect to Hong Kong culture (Adler & Towne, 2003). According to SDO, sexual harassment of whatever nature has been made a tort. Hence, whoever feels that he or she has been injured by a given act of sexual harassment is allowed to sue the offender.

The Hong Kong law on sexual harassment is perhaps one of the perfect examples of legislations in the world that do not only embody cultural diversity, but also applies the existing laws to the latter.

However, there are still open loopholes in the implementation of the sexual harassment Act since the judiciary has been reported several times to be lax and have not proved themselves to be tantamount to the uphill task of effecting the legislation to the latter (Luo, 1996).

Worse still, this piece of legislation may not be putting into consideration other diverse cultures and how they perceive sexual harassment. The legislation seems to dwell so much on the sexual injustices meted on a female person by a male offender. It is however vital to note that modern day sexual harassment offences may originate from either gender contrary to the popular belief by most conventional literatures.

The Hong Kong legislation also specifies that all acts of sexual harassment are illegal not just at workplace but also in other areas. This is good enough for the country since the harassment offence is broad and several categories through which the crime can be conducted have been addressed. Nonetheless, we are yet to find clauses within the legislation that offer relevance to culture.

As mentioned earlier, the SDO Act has myriad of attributes as far as the protection of sexual dignity of individuals is concerned. Nevertheless, in spite of the far-reaching description of sexual harassment as contained in the document, the law fails to cover certain areas of interest. It is imperative to note that SDO mainly concentrates on sexual harassment outcomes emanating only from specified areas such as employment or at workplace (Dank & Refinetti, 1998).

Hence, some areas where sexual harassment cases can arise are not catered for. This is a serious omission in view of the fact that even before the concept of sexual harassment could be visualised; it already existed in the fragile culture. Unfortunately, the society and governments in particular seem to contemplate sexual harassment only on the basis institutions, ignoring the grim reality that family units in well established marriages also encounter the ordeal though in varying degrees.

Furthermore, women are wholly protected by SDO and not their counterpart males. Therefore, the Hong Kong legislation does not cover sexual harassment cases emanating from same sex. This may be quite tricky owing to the fact that same sex relationships have never been societal norms across the globe although such unique affairs are increasingly taking shape in the contemporary society.

In some cultures, it is definitely unacceptable to discuss same sex affairs. A mention of lesbianism or gay relationships is strictly a taboo and perhaps this is the reason why the SDO Act is not touching on it. Nonetheless, throwing a blind eye on same sex sexual harassment cases is not helpful either.

The bare reality is that the society has undergone through a series of dynamic transformations and as a result, new and perhaps strange forms of sexual encounters are on board. Failure to address the need and concerns of same sex affairs is unwarranted since they too are part and parcel of the society.

The third shortcoming of the Hong Kong legislation lies on the verity that the burden of proof that the plaintiff is supposed to shoulder is extremely heavy. According to the court, only an objective test is applied to ascertain the truth by the claimant on sexual harassment. This test is not straightforward and may complicate the process of seeking justice.

There are multiple claims that have been thrown away due to the problematic nature of this test method (Kennedy & Gorzalka, 2002). For instance, how can the courts rule out that a given complainant was highly responsive to physical touch and so that cannot account to sexual harassment?

Or how do we justify that the claimant failed to resist sexual harassment? These are just some of the concerns on the weakness portrayed in the SDO Act that need to be amended if justice will finally be meted on the victims. It is unimaginable to see how the very judiciary entrusted with the onerous role of discharging justice failing with impunity to play their part.

Moreover, judges presiding over sexual harassment cases under the SDO legislation may sometimes dismiss some of the complaints presented to them arguing that the female might have flaunted herself to an extent of being sexually harassed (Saguy, 2003). In some cases, the complainant is said to have reached a consensus at an earlier date with the wrongdoer and therefore any allegation of sexual harassment may be ill directed.

There are also instances when the courts will argue that the claimant delayed to report the incidence. All the aforementioned bases used by judges to ignore cases presented to them are serious loopholes in the Hong Kong legislation. It is quite ambiguous for the existing laws on sexual harassment to fail in terms of clarity.

Sexual harassment and culture

Although it may be quite cumbersome to undertake reforms in the anti sexual harassment laws or better still changing the deeply rooted attitude of offenders, there are quite a number of modalities that can be instituted in place to assist in the process of rightful interpretation and application of the law.

The challenge of sexual harassment in relation to culture is enormous. In spite of this, the Asian countries and the world at large are yet to embark on a holistic perspective in resolving the challenge. It is not just enough to declare the illegality of sexual harassment; there are myriad of issues surrounding the offence and which require a thoughtful approach.

In addition, decisions endorsed by the judiciary in regard to compensating the claimants are still not sufficient in curbing this growing societal challenge. Similarly, situations whereby complaints committees are formed to penalize offenders cannot curb this growing heinous act.

The war against sexual harassment will only be won if all stakeholders are involved. We need the entire society, not just to participate but be proactive in shielding all the possible avenues of this demeaning practice (Lee, 2001).

One likely explanation why the Hong Kong law on sexual harassment is not comprehensive in spite of its highly esteemed and elevated status is that the cultural view point and its significance on controlling the offence has not been factored in the current campaign against the act.

We need the active and concerted effort from religious reformers, politicians and social scientists. The broad agenda should be to change the mindset of offenders rather than relying on the problematic legal process. However, this does not imply that the courts are done away with in this matter. The legislations enacted to curtail the activities of harassers should by far and large, considerate of the diverse cultures.

The media is yet another powerful tool that can be used dispatch the right messages as part of changing the mentality of potential and upcoming offenders (Parish, Das & Laumann, 2006). There is also the delicate balance in terms of gender equity and presentation in various commissions, equal opportunity commissions, committees that deal with complaints as well as the judiciary.

No single country can adequately deal with incidents of sexual harassment without encompassing the effort from both genders. It is a common experience of males dominating most of these bodies formed to oversee sexual harassment. This is erroneous and it is also the likely point where the society diverted or lost track in the fight against sexual harassment.

Women should equal players. The Sexual Harassment of Women Bill in India provides that the complaints committee dealing with sexual harassment should be headed by a female and 50% of its membership should also be made up of women (Berryman-Fink, 1997). This is a remarkable step that ensures comprehensiveness in incorporating culture and gender in solving the problem.

The Hong case is also limited by the fact that the coverage of the legislation has a narrow scope in the sense that it addresses only a few situations the offence is perpetrated. It is worth noting that sexual harassment is multi-faceted and cannot be approached from a single viewpoint.

Before the final verdict can be reached by the courts, thorough investigation using variety of tests is necessary. There are conspicuous uneasiness in proving an incidence of sexual harassment according to the current Hong Kong legislation. The theory that the courts are left to prove each case as objectively as possible is not welcome.

This is in fact the major setback when following up cases related to sexual harassment. A better alternative to this fiasco will be to leave the claimant to shoulder the burden of proof just like other ordinary cases. The innocence of the wrongdoer should only be proved by the offender and not the courts.

Further still, the Hong Kong courts do not award adequate damages to the complainant. This implies that the wrongdoer does not feel the pinching impacted of undergoing conviction and as a result, such light penalties may not deter the offender from committing the crime again. Unfortunately, the Hong Kong judges have never stuck to the letter on the direction given by anti sexual harassment legislation to advance exemplary damages.

For example, much of what is awarded as damages in Hong Kong is not commensurate with the per capita income of the area which is quite high. A case look at United States reveals that when sexual harassment disputes are settled out of the court, an average sum of 300,000 US dollars is awarded to the victim. This is a lot fair and sincerely speaking, the economic culture of the region has been put into consideration before compensating the claimant.

There are some other working environments that do not culturally make use of working contracts that encompass sexual harassment clause. This is due to either the ignorance of the fact that such harassment is not commonplace or employers and managers are pre-occupied with maximizing returns for their companies at the expense of employee welfare (Canary & Spitzberg, 1987).

Restraining sexual harassment at workplace will demand the institution of employment contracts that clearly stipulates terms and conditions of working. One of the most important elements of this agreement should be the termination of employment after due investigation of a sexual harassment case surrounding the concerned individual. Such a step will have deterrent effect on the wrongdoer.

Victims who have undergone sexual harassment may develop psychological problems either at a personal or family level. Dealing with such an aftermath requires proper integration of culture. A near perfect way is the use of women organisations with counselling experts to offer guidance and counselling to the affected persons.

Culturally, women are generally known to offer the best consolation compared to men. Indeed, when this natural ability is integrated with expertise knowledge, the process of recovery can really be hastened.

The patriarchal norms of the society need to be reformed. There are certain standards that have run deep into the societal fabric. Unfortunately, some these norms and standards are not beneficial while they have been adopted as part and parcel of the acceptable culture. In order to uproot what is not desired, women groups are well placed to act proactively in derailing the misleading norms.

In any case, there are countless instances of sexual harassment that are primarily caused by our own deteriorating norms. Women are also the best agents in championing the much needed change since they are also the group that is culturally susceptible to this form of abuse. Hence, all stakeholders involved the fight against the growing sexual harassment against women should understand that respecting, honouring and dignifying women is the highest duty.

Both intensive and extensive investigations have been carried out on differences in gender in regard to sexual harassment as compared to cultural differences. Limited research studies have been conducted in this area in spite of the potential effect of culture on sexual harassment.

At this juncture, it is paramount to distinguish between the component that deals with understanding culture and a hostile environment that has been subjected to an environment that is not conducive. Hence, the definition of a subjective standard for an environment that is considered hostile is necessary.

Before concluding on any particular judgment on sexual harassment it is imperative to bear in mind the cultural differences which may have influenced the wrongdoer in committing the offence. The explanation for this is simple and straightforward; the world today has become more globalised than before and the thought of hiring employees definitely brings in the issue of cultural diversity.

In any one particular workplace, it is highly likely that employees will be made up of people from diverse backgrounds, subscribing unique values and standards. Therefore, diversity in culture is a phenomenon that managers and employers have to wrestle with from time to time. It is also interesting to note that all individuals have a strong personal appeal for their own original cultures.

The very individuals who are also in working capacity can also identify quite well what is meant by a hostile working environment in as far as sexual abuse in concerned. Indeed, they can do this better than their fellow workers who are residents in a particular country simply due to the unfamiliar environment they are in.

To this end, there are limited studies that only report on cases of sexual harassment that are not yet proved. This is a common feature of United States. Although we can take such studies seriously and use them for further valuation, it is still not adequate to rely on the data obtained from one country like US for a well thought out empirical study (Clair, 1993).

Notwithstanding these evident weaknesses, both the existing data that is also readily available that attempt to compare various cultures within their original locations can be used as an eye opener in understanding how differences in culture and sexual harassment compare and contrast.

There are countries that are patriarchal in nature whereby not many women are employed in occupations dominated by males. In such countries, conducting research study on sexual harassment is not accepted since it can endanger the career of respondents (Lott, Reilly & Howard, 2002). Even in the event that we have to generalize on some ideas due to lack of sufficient data, it is still not easy; the process is quite cumbersome.

Empirical-based research

Brazil, a South American country, is well endowed both politically and economically. By 1988, the country had already enshrined gender equality in its constitutional document. Another law enacted in 1991 illegalised all forms of sexual harassment (Adler & Towne, 2003). It is interesting to learn that recent research surveys conducted in the North and South American college students revealed quite an astounding disparity.

The cross-cultural research concluded that the Brazilian concept of sexual harassment is unique compared to North American definition in spite of the fact that no difference exist between the students in the north and south.

From the study, it was evident that students originating from German, Australia and most countries in North America were highly likely to link sexual harassment with discriminating against gender, abuse of power as well as other harmful societal practices. According to these students, the aforementioned factors are the likely causes of sexual harassment.

On the contrary, college students from Brazil were highly likely to comprehend or link sexual harassment to demanding for sex without mutual consent from both partners or seeking romance from unwilling partner. There was nothing to do with power abuse or gender inequity at all in their perception.

The study of sexual harassment cases is done in a different way in Europe compared to countries in South America. As a result, it becomes quite difficult to draw vivid comparisons. Nevertheless, there are noticeable similarities with those results obtained from US. Incidences in northern European countries are reported more than those in the south.

This can be explained from the fact incidences of sexual harassment are more pronounced in the north than the south (Dodd, 1998). In spite of such brilliant reporting, the society should develop a culture of even reporting whether such cases are prevalent or not. By so doing, the immediate community will be adequately educated and be made aware of this societal ill-act.

In the southern European countries, researchers have unanimously concluded that the tradition of the church as well as family values have been found to shape behavioural patterns of the society. Hence, the southerner’s culture is heavily shaped by the two factors.

The case of Russia is rather unique. The laws of the country regarding sexual harassment are rather dormant and hardly enforced. In some cases, the legal process of apprehending offenders is not followed at all. Thus, a culture of ignorance has been cultivated for long leading to both poor reporting of the same as well as lack of concern and compensation for complainants.

The Russian women have had to bear the brunt of this don’t-care attitude. Additionally, the Europeans tend to conceptualize sexual harassment in variety of ways even in those regions which average almost the same in terms of responding to the offence. The doctrines of ordered liberty and cultural defence

In all the cases examined above, it is evident that variance in culture plays a significant role in either reporting or dealing with incidences of sexual harassment.

In most researches carried out, communication breakdown has been cited as a serious loophole in an attempt to deal conclusively with this form of crime (Landy & Conte, 2010). Further, the distortion of information by either the complainant or perpetrator of the crime is a major setback. These are also values that are socially and culturally derived.

Policy makers and law enforcers alike should come to the understanding that in order to address the missing link in trying the perpetrators of sexual harassment, language which is part and parcel of culture is significant. For instance, an utterance in one language translated in another language might transform into a verbal sexual harassment and therefore influence the final outcome of the case.

Different ethnic groups have their own way of understanding, interpreting or even evaluating verbal cues. An interesting example is that derived from the Malaysian community. This group perceive a touch on another person’s shoulder to be tantamount to sexual harassment.

The same action might imply nothing close to harassment in other cultures such as the American society. This is the point where law enforcers handling multi-ethnic cases should not only be keen non cultural differences but also critically evaluate each sexual harassment incidence brought to them before giving their final verdict.

Moreover, cultural sensitivity across the wide ethnic divide cannot be ignored. A case study of the Caucasian community reveals that commenting that someone appears sexy is sexual harassment. The spread of globalisation will occasion more sensitivity in the manner in which multicultural issues such as sexual harassment are handled.

There are myriad of socio-economic and political issues that must have been addressed with cultural perspective in mind. The swelling number of immigrants across the globe should indeed be a wakeup call for governments and in particular the legal fraternity to prepare in handling multi-cultural issues that are embedded from diverse backgrounds.

In fact, the concept of sexual harassment is in itself facing cultural collision n different parts of the world especially when more than one ethnic group is entangled in the case. Both the civic tradition and con conventional legal practices should embrace change by putting into consideration the values and beliefs of other cultures (Limpaphayom, Williams & Fadil, 2006).

In any case, sexual harassment incidences as perceived by different cultures is fast becoming a global problem due to ignorance of the issue and in some cases static legal practices by the judiciary which do not conform to the divergent cultures.

A look at the American law reveals that there has been growing tension between the need to harmonise culture and tolerating other global cultures. However, a civilised society should always endeavour to accommodate opposing views and perhaps work harder to improve them instead of discarding them into pieces (Brase & Miller, 2001).

Instead, any other global society should apply the principle of ordered liberty. According to this principle, different cultures should be accommodated in what is generally referred to as cultural pluralism. However, this can only be effective if it is applied within the confines that can be endured by the majority. This does not imply that personal liberty cannot be applied.

The main requirement should be such that whatever liberty is in force, it should not contravene social order, peaceful co-existence or conventions that the majority can tolerate with much ease (Neher, 1997). Although this doctrine appears appealing, it has been challenged by the left wing multiculturalists.

According to the argument put forward by this group, each cultural group should pursue its own unique traditions, values and practices even if it does not fall within the boundaries of the majority. This may be quite erroneous bearing in mind that the will of the majority matters a lot. In fact, contemporary governments have been built successfully based on democratic force where the majority vote carries the day.

How then should we dispute the glaring reality on the importance of unifying cultural values with sexual harassment in due regard of the majority? It is high time the left wingers changed their tact or better still, follow suit by embracing the doctrine of ordered liberty.

The doctrine of cultural defence was in fact the creation of the left wingers. The latter should however propose the need of judging sexual harassment offenders according to their cultural backgrounds instead of the prevailing legislations.

One major weakness assumption of the culture defence doctrine is that it is only sensitive to one culture thereby disregarding the interests of other ethnic groups. In line with this, there are some legal scholars who argue that the cultural situation of the defendant should be permitted as a mitigating element when judgment is being offered.

This may sound appealing but there are underlying assumptions that should be keenly scrutinized (Itzen & Newman, 2003). The cultural defence doctrine proposes that the cultural background of the offender can be used for purposes of defending a criminal offence on sexual harassment.

However, rarely has it been applied as a defence mechanism in court hearings. The missing link remains to be lack of its application despite of the fact that both doctrines have been used multiple times when reporting cases related to sexual harassment.

Well, it is quite vivid that there are some cultures that are more rigid than others and above all extremely sensitive on matters of sexuality. Worst of all, cases revolving around sexual harassment may never be given a ‘considerate’ hearing, by perhaps applying the principle of ordered liberty (DeFrancisco & Palczewski, 2007).

In the event that there is a gross cultural difference between the complainant and the victim, it is appropriate to make referral to such cases to the country of origin of the wrongdoer. This is especially necessary if no consensus can be reached between the two parties out-of-court or the existing laws are strictly applied as outlined in the clauses.

It is vital to reiterate the various challenges inherent in the application of cultural defence when resolving sexual harassment disputes in courts. Firstly, the purported wrongdoers from other countries do not receive fair share of the justice process since there is eminent disparity in the standards being used to discharge justice.

Both the plaintiff and the defendant should be treated on a common legal platform regardless of the cultural background (Berdahl, Magley & Waldo, 1996). Secondly, the cultural defence doctrine is a healthy ground for breeding cultural stereotyping from minority groups. Rather than the doctrine solving the conflict, it widens the divide between or among different cultures living in one country (Chae, 2007).

Consequently, the smaller cultural groups are adversely alienated. Third, the doctrine markedly fails to promote the women and children’s rights. This is owing to the reinforcement of patriarchal cultural norms that are repugnant or ignorant of the welfare of sensitive groups.

Sincerely speaking, when women and children are removed from the societal equation, it will be a recipe for social stratification and disintegration. Why then should we depreciate their worth at the pretext of defending culture when handling incidences of sexual harassment?

Fourth, the victims do not secure their rightful justice when the offender belongs to a different culture. This is even worse considering the fact that the victim cannot make any referral or appeal the case against the defendant from the same country.

Furthermore, the deterrent value that is supposed to be attached to punishment is limited especially when cultural cues are incorporated as part and parcel of mitigating for the case at hand. As a consequence, the accused may not see the sense in the entire verdict of the presiding jury and is more likely to repeat the offence with impunity within a foreseeable future.

Finally, the doctrine of cultural defence sometimes fail to acknowledge the grim reality that the justice system equally permits the integration of cultural background as a mitigating factor when delivering judgments and therefore the defendant still has the right to plead for reducing the judgment instead of receiving the full sentence.

Notwithstanding these limitations of cultural defence, proponents of this doctrine persist that it is only the application of this principle that individualized justice and fair rule can be enhanced. They continue to debate that there is no other better way of advancing cultural pluralism apart from applying the doctrine to the letter.

Besides, the advocates of this principle maintain that the mind of the wrongdoers when committing the alleged crime can be ascertained in a better way only through the doctrine of cultural defence.

Although the proponents of this unfavourable doctrine are quite outspoken on why they support it, there are notable assumptions that might result in grievous consequences if they are not addressed. It is conspicuous that the doctrine of ordered liberty has no constrictions in its application. It has no need to be backed up with mountain of explanations on why it is acceptable.

It is also a live example on how multicultural conflicts such as those arising from sexual harassment can be resolved in a fair and justified manner. Moreover, proponents of the doctrine of cultural defence should rise to the occasion and understand the fact that there is no higher duty than giving due respect to all the diverse cultures across the globe especially when handling disputes cutting across cultures.

Yet again, the doctrine of ordered liberty can indeed support the viewpoint that the concept of sexual harassment can be elaborated and discussed along culturally acknowledged practices provided that the very application does not supersede the generally accepted norms of the society.

Common knowledge per se cannot be adequate in quantifying sexual harassment cases. This is almost similar to the Hong Kong SDO legislation that employs certain objective tests in determining the validity of sexual harassment cases presented to the courts. Common knowledge is uniform or standard to all users and therefore its application might be significantly different.

For this reason, the much desired greater accuracy cannot be obtained. Let us consider this scenario. It is common knowledge and general perception that those who are powerfully superior at workplace often instigate sexual harassment to their subordinate victims. In contrast, evidence-based research has conclusively established that a higher percentage of sexual harassment incidences are prevalent among peers or colleagues.

Another observation has been empirically obtained notes that individuals who have never gone through sexual harassment in the past are highly likely to point an accusing finger to the purported victim. Unfortunately, common perception may not bring this on board, limiting the justice process further (Adler & Towne, 2003).

In yet another empirically researched report, the length of time a complainant will endure sexual advances before eventually filing a case is paramount. Common knowledge may not consider this as an important parameter when passing judgments on offenders, let alone the cultural background.


Sexual harassment and culture are two different concepts yet interlinked and inseparable. The societal impacts brought about by the influence of globalisation cannot be overstated; it is all evident in our day to day lives. When we mention diversity, multiple cultural backgrounds also come into play.

This form of harassment is mostly common at workplaces although the vice can permeate other domains in the society such as family set ups and institutions. Hence, employers and managers can no longer ignore the significance of cultural diversity when hiring workers.

To this end, it worth to note that the concept of sexual harassment is quite complex especially when the process of seeking justice is encompassed. As clearly as it stands, sexual harassment is a criminal offence although culture is very instrumental in fully defining the concept. This implies that the derived meaning of the concept may be as diverse as the existing traditions and cultural values among different ethnic groups.

Empirical-based research studies conducted on sexual harassment and culture from different locations in the world reveals it all. While touching the shoulder of a woman whom one is not intimately related with may be considered sexual harassment among some of the Caucasian ethnic groups, the very act may simply be interpreted as a way of seeking attention in the American society.

Such variance in culture and perception indeed calls for the application of ordered liberty doctrine that attempts to address and account for cultural differences when passing judgments on wrongdoers.

Needless to say, the doctrine of cultural defence is by far and large a bitter pill to swallow since it largely overlooks other cultures when delivering judgments and sentencing defenders.

As globalisation continues to take its toll on our traditional systems and structures, we should equally be compatible with the changing times. Moreover, proponents of the latter doctrine should reconsider their stand and allow multi-cultural approach to incidences surrounding sexual harassment.


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