Street harassment, prohibited by law in Romania

MP Oana Bîzgan initiated a legislative project to complete Law no. 202/2002 on equal opportunities and treatment between women and men in such a way that harassment, sexual harassment and psychological abuse are prohibited both in public and private places.

Harassment in public spaces affects a large number of girls and women in Romania. An alarm of the magnitude of this phenomenon has been given recently by the #metoo campaign, to which public and politicians have joined.

Eight out of ten Romanian women say they do not feel safe when they go to the street at night. Four out of ten do not feel safe during the day, either. Seven out of ten Romanian women do not expect any other person to interfere if they are harassed on the street. These things will change with the amendment of the legislation, says Oana Bîzgan.

Day by day, women in Romania are bullied and humiliated by harassment – in all its forms – including in schools and universities, at work, on the streets, in public transport and in public institutions. Harassment is violence, and violence no longer needs and can no longer be tolerated in a European country in 2017.

Currently, there is no provision in Romania to penalize harassment in public spaces, despite repeated demands from both civil society and European directives. Moreover, there is no other sanctioning framework for harassment, sexual harassment or psychological harassment than the Penal Code, where restrictive definitions only apply to work relations.

Hărțuirea stradală oana bizgan

Harassers will think twice, knowing what the risks are

The legislative proposal initiated by Oana Bîzgan would solve two major needs of the current legislative framework: the prohibition of all forms of harassment that do not fall under the scope of the criminal law or labor relations, as well as their sanctioning.

Note that the contravention sanction proposed in the project will not remove the eventual criminal nature of the facts. The competent authority to find harassment contraventions would be the Ministry of Internal Affairs through subordinate officers and sub-officers. “With the express prohibition of harassment, including in public space, harassers will think twice before, knowing what the risks are. However, harassment is a complex phenomenon, so other preventive and combating initiatives will be followed, this is only the first step,” said the initiator of the project.

The legislative proposal was signed by 75 men and women, members of the Parliament from all political parties, both in power and in opposition: PSD, PNL, USR, ALDE, UDMR and PMP. It is not the first time that Oana Bîzgan initiates a cross-party project in favor of women in Romania. In August 2017, as chairman of the Committee for the Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Chamber of Deputies, she submitted to the Government an open letter with signatures from the USR, PNL and UDMR requesting urgent approval of the draft amending and completing Law no. 217/2003 regarding the prevention and combating of domestic violence.