It’s Not Intent – It’s the Impact that Matters!
Clara Reynolds, President & CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay really got my attention when she said, “Even in the light of the #MeToo movement, too many victims of sexual violence are afraid to come forward for this simple reason – ‘I’m afraid no one will believe me’.” Clara and her team should know, since just in the Tampa Bay area alone they perform nearly one rape exam a day! That’s a pretty staggering number considering that as few as one in five rape victims report their sexual assault.
So what has this got to do with you? You’re a business person. You don’t have sexual assaults going on in your workplace…or do you?
According to an infographic published by Media Partners1, 72% of the women surveyed said they were sexually harassed by someone senior during their career and 57% of the men reported that they were sexually harassed by another man. The real irony is that 90% of American workers believe Zero-Tolerance harassment policies will reduce it.
So why don’t all companies have a zero-tolerance harassment policy? And if they do, why does the number of harassment complaints reported to the EEOC continue to escalate each year? The answer is the same as to why rape victims don’t report sexual assault – they are afraid. They are afraid of their harasser. They are afraid they won’t be believed. And most importantly, they are afraid that even after they’ve reported it, nothing will happen.
Harassment, regardless of whether it’s workplace harassment, sexual harassment, or bullying, has the same roots as sexual assault. It’s all about power. Power over a weaker person. Power over a situation. Power to intimidate. Plain and simple…it’s all about the abuse of power.
So what can you do? Listen to what 90% of your fellow workers believe is the key to stopping harassment. Starting today, implement a Zero-Tolerance Harassment Policy. Take the time to shout it out to your employees that your company doesn’t tolerate harassment, and empower them to take action by training each and every one. Spend some time training your managers to recognize what harassment looks like and how to handle a complaint that will build trust.
You know, if we all take a page from what Clara said, and start by believing the people who have the courage to come forward to report it; then properly investigate it; and then take the appropriate actions to end it, we just might have a chance to reverse the numbers and stop this damaging trend in its tracks.
We can help. Visit http://www.pssworks.thinkific.com to learn more about our Harassment Awareness eLearning course for Employees and stay tuned for our new jam packed version of our See It. Handle It. Stop It! - Harassment Awareness training for Managers.
During the months of April and May, 2019, to help all of us do our part, PSSworks! will donate 10% of your purchase price of 5 or more courses to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
Source 1. NPR and Ipsos poll, December 2017, www.npr.org/2017/12/14/570601136/poll-sexual-harassment-ipsos