He who shares his story of…
Read it again!
I work in a male dominated work place. I am in my early thirties. I have been told I am quite attractive. I feel I can be strong in my character. But I am very empathetic and wear my heart on my sleeve. I know I am intelligent given that I have been the principle to the CEO of a large resources business already.
I have been sexually harassed. More than once. More than half a dozen times in fact. It has happened over the period of 18 months. I couldn’t get it to stop no matter how many times I demanded it did.
After the third time, I raised the concern with my employer. They laughed at me. They couldn’t understand why I was complaining. I started to underperform in a job I knew how to excel in.
They continued to laugh at me when they saw my aggressor around me. No one seemed to take me seriously. No one seemed to understand the impact the abuse was having on my life.
It doesn’t happen anymore because I have left my job. The one that was my dream job. The one that would be any mining engineer’s dream job when they were in their early thirties. But I had to leave because I couldn’t handle the abuse. And I couldn’t handle not having anyone take it seriously.
I forgot to mention. I am a male.
Does that change the way you feel if you go back and read my story again?
Anyone can be vulnerable to or affected by sexual harassment.
The 2018 National Survey found that just over one in four men (26%) said they experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the last five years.
Sexual harassment causes profound physical, emotional and psychological impacts to those affected. It is unacceptable, against the law and must be eliminated from workplaces.
Sexual harassment is against the law and should be taken seriously regardless of who is being subjected to the harassment. We all have a role to play in eliminating sexual harassment from workplaces. This is the same as our existing workplace health and safety obligations to protect each other from harm to our health and safety, including psychological harm.
The Call to Action
Every organisation should have clear prevention measures and response measures in place to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.
A positive reporting culture enables an organisation to address issues and prevent a repeat. Having in place response measures that support and protect any individual, regardless of who they are, who come forward and report sexual harassment is imperative.
Leaders play an important role in creating a culture that discourages sexual harassment and ensuring that, if it does occur, it is addressed in a way that minimises further harm to victims. Leaders need to build a psychologically safe workplace to allow employees to feel comfortable to report sexual harassment and not fear the impact complaining will have on their reputation.
Don’t ignore a report of sexual harassment. You wouldn’t ignore someone being physically injured in your workplace.