Power and control
What about sexual harassment in the workplace? Via every search page on the Internet you can find information about sexual workplace harassment.
On those pages you will read that sexual harassment is an unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and intimidated. That sexual harassment in employment is unlawful under the sex discrimination law. The various forms of sexual harassment in the workplace such as unwelcome touching, hugging, kissing or staring, suggestive comments or jokes about your weekend or the way you look, unwanted invitations to go out on dates or requests for sex, insults or taunts of a sexual nature or sexually explicit emails and text messages. Both men and women can experience sexual harassment at work. Because sexual harassment in the workplace is not about sex but it is all about power and control. Today more women have a superior position, that’s why nowadays more men experience sexual harassment in the workplace as well. An individual can also experience sexual harassment from someone of the same sex, the so-called same-sex harassment. This is all well and good on paper, but it can be very difficult to understand when you have never been a witness or have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace yourself. Are having a company policy, a one-day training, introducing independent complaint mechanism and counselors enough to protect people in the workplace or do these
methods (perhaps) mainly protect the company itself? Otherwise, how is it possible that with so much good advice available on how to write a good policy and handling complaints, we still have to deal with sexual workplace harassment? Sexual workplace harassment almost never starts directly with the assault, that’s why it is not always easy to recognize the harassment. Because of the taboo and the emotional blackmail victims almost never dare to speak-up. We have to make this easier, because this is the only way to reduce the power perpetrators gain from their victims silence. We need to learn from what victims experience and how they react to the touching, the disgracing humiliating messages, etc, when they are being sexually harassed in their workplace, to be able to understand and process this experience with them. The isolation of the victim by the perpetrator is very dangerous. When a victim searches for a way out, this could turn out to be a fatal moment and have disastrous consequences. Dealing with and prevention of sexual workplace harassment is about more than writing a good policy. It’s about connecting with people you work with, it’s about believing, understanding, educating and most of all it’s about drawing a line. After all sexual harassment is not a sexy subject so let’s stop approaching it that way.
"On behalf of the Aruba Human Resource Association we would like to thank Karin for the wonderful and educational workshop about sexual harassment at the workplace. The reactions of our members were very positive."
#Janine Ponson / boardmember AHRA
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