"On November, 14th, 2018, Karin presented, “The Gray Area of Sexual Harassment” to our chapter, HR Martin. I asked Karin to speak to our chapter because of her impressive background including her personal experience and her experience educating professionals, working with legislators to change laws, and working with survivors. When we spoke Karin’s passion and knowledge of this difficult subject was apparent. She agreed to come to Stuart, Florida because she believes in educating as many people as possible on the gray area and not so gray area of sexual harassment in the workplace.
As HR professionals we can help people, we write policies, train employees and supervisors and can change legislation if we choose to. With Karin’s help and the work she does, together we can make a difference and be the change we want to see in the world.
Over 30 years ago I started my career in Human Resources. I have seen varying degrees of sexual harassment in the workplace, written polices, provided education and training to employees and supervisors, and have conducted a dozen investigations resulting in termination and one in criminal charges. The seriousness of the subject coupled with the emotional turmoil it takes on individuals, their families, and coworkers is hard to explain and put into words. How and why does this behavior continue I ask myself?
In her thoughtful presentation Karin helps us to understand how hard it is to speak up the very moment moment the unacceptable behavior occurs. The fear of losing a job, not being heard, or believed, sometimes blamed or judged by others, all factor into women not coming forward. Karin encourages individuals (women) to speak up, set their boundaries, and clearly tell others when behavior is unacceptable. This is the first step and perhaps the hardiest. Not allowing others to say what is acceptable for them or to makes excuses for inappropriate behavior in the workplace. She explained to us how important it is to create the safe environment for people (women) to share their feelings, and feel their emotions as that will allow healing.
The gray area of sexual harassment, is hard to define because it is an individual definition and can vary. It can be stopped if we all collectively call it what it is - unwanted behavior and if it continues it is harassment. Karin through her her own experience helps us to understand the effect unwanted behavior can have and how it escalates if not stopped. Unwanted behavior does not go away and will continue until we take action to stop it. No one should have to work in an environment where they are sexually harassed and yet so many women do all over the world. Karin travels and educates many in the world as she knows how much needs to be done to make a positive change and a difference in the behavior of others. She has dedicated her life’s work to make a difference for women and to speak the truth about sexual harassment. There are behaviors which are simply inappropriate in the workplace. Karin can help educate you, your team, your management, write workplace policies, conduct investigations, listen and respond to those reporting a complaint. Allowing, listening, not judging and speaking the truth even when it’s hard is what she teaches and encourages.
Karin has inspired me to continue to do good work and be the change I want to see in the world. I highly recommend Karin as a speaker, trainer, and educator on the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace. It has been an honor and privilege to meet her and get to know her and I look forward to working with her in the future. "
#Stephanie Strozak, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP | Senior Human Resources Professional | Stuart, Florida USA, November 14, 2018
"Tijdens onze professionaldag Integriteit op 5 oktober 2018 heb jij een succesvolle en goed bezochte workshop verzorgd. De deelnemers waren zeer positief over de workshop. Het heeft hen zeer welkome inzichten gebracht. Mede namens de workshopdeelnemers en het organisatieteam, wil ik je heel hartelijk bedanken voor het verzorgen van deze workshop."
#Yvonne Stokhuyzen / Coördinator Integriteit en vertrouwenspersoon Bestuurskern, Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat, Den Haag Oktober 3, 2018
#U.S. Consul General in Curacao, Ms. Hawthorne, August 28, 2018
"We really enjoyed the training because we got a lot of information that made us think further about this matter and we also want to have a confidential advisor at work now. All this thanks to your training and the way you presented it. It made us aware of the importance and also how to deal with it. It meant a lot for us and we really appreciate it."
#Ester Croes-Kelly / Personeelszaken / Gerecht in Eerste Aanleg van Aruba September 7, 2018
"In een lastige werksituatie, waarin duidelijk sprake was van intimidatie, ben ik met raad en daad door Karin Bosman terzijde gestaan. Ze toont betrokkenheid, pakt kordaat aan met kennis van zaken, verdiept zich ook op de werklocatie zelf in de problematiek en weet goed te communiceren op alle niveaus, tot en met het bestuur, zonder dat dit voor mij nadelig was. Zij beroept zich op feiten die bewezen kunnen worden en werkt volgens een strategie. Alle doelen zijn bereikt. Ik ben zeer tevreden en kan haar van harte aanbevelen."
#Arnold Nanlohy - Docent STC - October 30, 2017
"About a year ago I met Karin Bosman professionally and instantly I felt her dedication to help and act humans that experience work harassment. I deliberately say 'humans' as in my opinion Karin is an example of a human rights defender. Recently I found myself in the situation of being harassed/bullied at work and I looked for help. That's where I contacted Karin again. This time for a personal matter. She knows exactly what you are going through and this empathy empowers you. Besides the emotional support she has the knowledge and study to act upon. You simply feel that she is on your side in this storm of unrighteousness. You no longer stand alone, you no longer wonder why this is happening to you and you no longer think you are going to crack. Why? Because she explains to you the mechanism of power abuse, narcissism, jealousy and frustration that often applies to the 'bullier (s)'. It's not you. After that she acts, she stands up for your rights and in my situation the result was positive and liberating. Now that I have gone through a process like this myself, I highly recommend anybody suffering from a situation at work like this to contact Karin. Thank you Karin for all you have done! And keep on doing what you are doing as you change someone's world."
#Linda Reijnders - Editor in Chief Aruba Today - Aruba
April 8, 2017
"As an educationist and social activist belonging to Pakistan, It was a wonderful experience to work with Ms. Karin Bosman of AWH. Her visit to Lahore, Pakistan in March 2017 was more efficacious than expected. In order to create awareness, not only among the 52% female population of the country but to the entire society, together we visited a number of educational institutions as Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), SICAS School (Senior girls Campus), University of Management Sciences (UMT), The Institute of Management Sciences, Lahore (Pak-Aims) etc. Karin was also being invited to speak on ‘Awareness and Precautions on Workplace Harassment’ by National Outreach Program, Pakistan which is a highly popular social awareness platform. Ms. Bosman also visited the cultural heritage of the city and experienced some traditional and cultural events which braced her to comprehend the local mind-set and values.
Furthermore, she is planning to celebrate and conduct a ‘Women March’ on Women’s Day in the coming year, involving the public and private corporate sector. My best wishes and unconditional support to her noble cause is always with her."
#Dr. Maria H. Nadeem / CEO- Cornwall Education & Training (Pvt) Ltd.ality, Lahore Pakistan
March 23, 2017
"The lecture was well presented with vivid examples of the social phenomena. I appreciated the approach Karin used in the delivery of the lecture. Her ability to discuss the issue, from both a theoretical perspective and punctuating it with her real authentic life experiences are what make the lecture, interesting, easy to follow and captivating. Moreover, she told of her story from a very empowering perspective, as she discussed sexual harassment from all perspectives, i.e., how it all began, the psychosocial impact, the reactions of colleagues, and the legal perspectives and steps that can be taken."
#Clementia Eugene / University of Aruba
October 25, 2015
“During an informal evening lecture, Karin gave us a very broad and complete picture of the topic of sexual intimidation. For me, this was my first time receiving information on this subject and Karin covered a lot of relevant aspects, regarding law, intercultural differences and also her own case. I really liked the personal touch Karin gave to this lecture by including her experience, which I thought was very brave and made her story and message very sincere and touching. She was really easy to talk to and I could ask her questions at any moment during the presentation, which created a nice and open environment. I would recommend everyone to read her book, listen to her story and talk about it since communication is key in preventing and battling sexual intimidation.”
# Marijke Zonennberg / Third-year student Honours Programme Wageningen University The Netherlands
March 30, 2016
"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 Aruba
November 10, 2015
"Karin Bosman's lecture at the University of Aruba left a deep and lasting impression on the audience and gave sexual harassment a (new) face. She is a remarkable woman whose perseverance and dedication is changing the world bit by bit"
#Deborah van den Berg - Alexander / University of Aruba
October 23, 2015
"First of all, we would like to thank you for the courage you have taken to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to the world to raise awareness and teach about workplace harassment, ‘cause indeed it’s not sexy at all. Prior to this training we had knowledge about sexual harassment, but this training has really opened our eyes and made us more aware about workplace sexual harassment and how it has its subtle way of manifesting amongst coworkers. It also gave us tools to recognize what can be considered as bullying at the workplace. It brought us to the understanding that bullying is not always visible, someone can e.g. feel bullied after time by time not being promoted. Altogether, your presentation was very structured, direct to the point and easy to understand."
#Lenie Thodé Estevez / Strafgriffier Gerecht in Eerste Aanleg Aruba September 7, 2018
"I had the privilege to attend both a lecture and a workshop led by Karin. She gives a very clear and vivid explanation of both the law and her own life-experience, which makes it very captivating.
Karin is very approachable, open and authentic. With these characteristics she brings a sense of normalcy to a very abnormal matter like sexual harassment.
The emphasis in this workshop was on how to make a (more) effective policy, how important it is to create awareness about this matter and to make sure the policy remains alive.
She mentioned the risk factors for sexual harassment in the workplace and the scope of influence for both the victim or target and the witnesses.
The perception of the victim always has to be the focal point throughout the investigation. As important is the employer's responsibility to ensure a safe work environment for the employees.
She also dedicated attention on the importance and tasks of the confidential counselor.
This workshop is of great value for employees and employers in general.
Karin, keep inspiring and empowering!"
Drs.Peggy Ottenhoff/Inspector of Education, Curaçao, 21 september 2017
"You really did do a phenomenal job at presenting on such a difficult topic. Again, I am so sorry that you had to deal with such an ordeal.
I truly applaud you for turning your horrifying ordeal into an empowering presentation."
#Maxine Roberts / boardmember HRMA / Princeton USA
January 10, 2017
"Karin presented a compelling, real-life account of workplace sexual harassment. She forces her audience to confront what is a very grave and uncomfortable subject with honesty and compassion."
#Steve Blechman / Executive Director HRIS / Princeton University / President HRMA Princeton USA
November 6, 2016
" want to thank you for coming to the Exchange. This was one of my most memorable Exchanges and so deeply valuable for young minds. I felt like you really connected with all the students in the room, and held their attention, and made them think about some serious issues as future HR professionals, employers and business owners. I could tell that you had a profound impact on the students who attended that day. I think the length and topics covered were just perfect for our audience and inspired them to include Workplace Harassment policies in their future work, which is so important. It was a great honor to have you there and for you to share your personal experiences with our students. Thank you for doing all that you do."
#Holly Bouma /Associate Director Office of Professional Development / University of Central Florida USA
April 24, 2017
“The workshop was a great eye opener and awareness for our associates. We very much appreciate all your assistance.”
#Freya Kraag / Quality Assurance Manager / Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa Aruba
December 16, 2015
"I would like to tell you that the feedback I have received so far has been very positive. I have always believed that HR people are somewhat empathetic when it comes to understanding a person's pain. The people that I spoke to appreciated your story because it was the raw truth coming from a victim."
#Debra Casiglia / boardmember SHRM chapter TCHRA USA
May 11, 2016
"It’s important for the teachers to deal with this issue here at college so our students know how to react and how to deal with this issue accordingly. During the workshop Karin Bosman dealt with the subject of sexual intimidation at work, she shared her own experience and explained how this event changed her life. At the end of her presentation there was a moment for a Q&A and a discussion on this theme. IPA is very grateful to Karin for sharing her story."
#Drs. Jennifer Warner / Communication expert IPA Aruba
October 5, 2015
"The presentation of Karin Bosman about Sexual Harassment was a great success! The way she tells the story brings this subject very close to you. We are not always aware of it, but it happens more than you can imagine. With this presentation you will be aware of the problem. It is even bigger than most of us think. Karin is also a very open person. She is willing to help you setting up policies if they are not in place yet. Karin was inviting the audience for asking questions. The outcome was a very interesting discussion of another 45 minutes. People feel themselves involved. Hopefully this was the start against sexual harassment on Aruba."
#Tim Croes / Dean Faculty Arts and Science / University of Aruba
February 15, 2017