Since women joined the workforce they have been subjected to sexual harassment.
The power imbalance allowed and often condoned that behavior creating a toxic work environment that was, in many cases traumatic, career ending for the victims.
“Sexual harassment and violence is less about sex and more about abuse of power. There are the Harvey Weinsteins in the film world, but almost no field is immune. People wield power in all kinds of occupations. Parliament Hill is full of powerful people working under great stress who sometimes behave badly. Yet, oddly, there has been no formal harassment-complaint policy to protect the hundreds of staff who work with those powerful people to help our government operate smoothly.”
Speaking up about sexual harassment and assault takes tremendous courage
and there is always the fear of retribution if management fails and when leadership fails to address the complaints. For victims it shatters their self esteem and confidence. Victims can put the pieces back together but they are never the same! It has been a long lonely journey and thank you to all the women and men who have spoken up. Strong words for those who cannot behave…. time to get out and go back to living and working with the dinosaurs. Most importantly, leaders need to be willing to enforce these policies and not ignore the problem hoping it will go away. Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment.
Policies and enforcement?
“Policies and procedures are only as good as people’s confidence in them. The minister has stressed the need for harassment and violence prevention, which requires education. A great policy tucked away in the manager’s desk is useless. As well as posting the policy and procedure and assuring potential complainants their confidentiality will be respected, employers should undertake formal education sessions with the entire work force.”
“Change starts at the top of the house. MPs, boards of directors, CEOs and the entire executive team should be the first to attend a course on harassment and violence so that everyone gets the same message and knows that everyone will be held accountable for their actions. Sadly, people in power sometimes harass others because they think they can get away with it. The clear message must be that no one, no matter how powerful, is immune.”