I’m here at Navajo Human Rights Commission public hearing on gathering data/testimony on Violence Against Women and LGBTQs and on gender violence at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz.
Really difficult when try to file complaint with Navajo Nation police because of all the obstacles, especially for young people. I’m fortunate enough to be knowledgeable enough to help daughters with the filing of sexual harassment complaints. I understand plight of Navajo Human Rights Committee because it is so vital to Navajo Nation. There are other human rights organizations that I am involved in to create justice in my family and in the community. Commission has heavy load on shoulders and we as citizens need to help. At the registration table, I was asked if I wanted to take a complaint form and I said yes because unfortunately I feel that I have to be prepared. But I wonder how Commission and Office works on sexual harassment complaints since it is part of the Navajo government. I am very interested in the issue of sexual harassment in the work place and thank you for having hearing even if there are only three people.
NHR COMMISSIONER DR. JENNIFER DENETDALE
The difficulty of NHRC is that, for example, I had attorney come to me and say that he has complaints regarding sexual teasing but when he takes it to court, he is told that teasing, including sexual teasing, is part of Navajo tradition. You mentioned broadly a sexual harassment case but we can’t do anything if we can’t get information and data. When do we stop just sharing stories and actually report.
Not only teasing, but in workplace and men in particular who stare at your body. That strips away your clothing and I find that employees are intimidated about supporting the filing of such a sexual harassment complaint. So asked that perhaps solution might be the creation of a union.
NHR COMMISSIONER STEVE DARDEN
Process for someone accosted in some manner is pretty intimidating so when we hear that someone is successful we want to have those cases, with names, on record so it can help other individuals to file and be successful.
NHR COMMISSIONER DENETDALE
We will take a break until we have another individual who wants to testify.