Myat (29) lives with her mother in Myanmar. To support her family she has worked as a Human Resources Assistant at a handbag factory for five years.
Because of her role in HR, her mobile phone number was made available to staff so that people could contact her.
She recently started received obscene text messages and pictures from an unknown phone number. She had no idea which colleague was sending her the messages and she felt unsafe going to work – wondering which of the many people she passed each day might be responsible.
“When I saw the first message, I was shocked as it was an obscene text. At that moment, I felt ashamed, afraid and angry. From that day, I received more messages continuously. I called the number but no one answered my calls and more messages were sent to my phone.”
“I felt unsafe as I did not know if this person was near me or not. I was also scared and worried that they might do something to me on my way home from work. After a while, I was too afraid to travel home alone and I had to leave work early.”
“I was wondering why this was happening to me; whether this person looked down on me or thought of me as an ‘easy’ girl. I felt depressed. I was thinking about it every day and my work was suffering as I could not concentrate. It also made me afraid to answer other calls related to my job.”
Myat thought about what she’d learned in her training sessions with CARE. She had learnt about what constituted sexual harassment and gender-based violence and so decided to report the matter to the police who were able to ensure that the matter was taken care of and the messages stopped.
“I had participated in a CARE project called Improving Access to Safe Employment for Migrant Women in Urban Myanmar where I received training about women in leadership, gender-based violence, and how to lead change.”
“I also attended and actively participated in International Women’s Day events and International Workers’ Day events. These trainings and events changed me a lot. In the past, I was shy and afraid to speak in public. After receiving the training, my behavior and personality changed. Once I learned about gender-based violence, I decided that I won’t be a bystander anymore, and would help other people facing sexual harassment and gender-based violence.”
“Thanks to the training, I was brave and decided to inform the police to ensure proper punishment for the person responsible. I believe that handling this case in the proper way will reduce the chances of this kind of thing happening to other women in the future.”