Mary, a casual employee of a local garment production firm is constantly pursued by her supervisors while at work. She works six days a week, which includes nine-hour shift on each day. Due to the nature of her job, sometimes she has to run night shifts, a circumstantial move that she dreads. Despite her efforts to avoid such uncomfortable encounters with her seemingly persistent boss, she is caught up between either, securing her job or coming out/ reporting, while staking her sole source of income for the sustenance of her family. She is caught up in a quagmire. This scenario is a common element/factor amongst many in employment, while in their places of work. This essay discusses the causes, approaches towards reduction and possible measures that can be effected by organizations in order to reduce the cases of sexual harassment in the working environment.
Firstly, sexual harassment in the working environment has prevailed/ increased over the years. Of the twelve percent of people who experience sexual harassment while in the working environment, only seventy two percent of them report these incidences (O’Brien). These numbers are relatively small. This is due to the stigma attached to such disclosures and thus, very few numbers raise a report. When theses victims stay silent on the matter, the perpetrators have lee way favored by this silence approach. This effect is consequently reflected by the increase in sexual harassment cases in the workplace. In certain cases, the perpetrators are the upper management, who prey on their juniors and subordinate staff, seeking sexual favors or for certain quid pro quo arrangements. For instance, the soliciting sexual favors, in exchange for a recommendation for an upcoming job promotion. Therefore, the staff allows the manager to have their way and escape scot-free, hence the prevalence of sexual harassment cases which go unreported.
Nowadays, the working environment has become dynamic with more women getting into the workforce than ever before. Thus, gender integration has come with numerous challenges, in the previously male-dominated environment. In the early days, sexual harassment from a psychological stand point was perpetrated due to clear miscommunication between the female and their male counterparts interacting in the workplace (R. Browne 4). This is because psychologically, men view things in a sexual way. With the incorporation of the females in the workforce, the males had difficulties adjusting and distinguishing between casual friendships and their in-built instinctive sexual interest in their new entrant colleagues. Therefore, this mix-up formed the basis of sexual-related assaults cases early in the working environment. O’brien highlights the highest number of workplace harassment cases are usually peer-to-peer, and then followed by supervisors or the upper management.
Are the approaches taken towards reducing the risk of sexual harassment and assault working?
One of the most come approaches to in efforts to safeguard the women against sexual harassment, who are the main victims of such cases, is issuance of victim-centered prevention information. However, despite the prior good intentions, such information causes victim blaming and shifts blame away from the perpetrators; justifying the acts of the offender. For instance, telling women not to dress or act in a certain way in certain places, sparks outrage amongst the women rights fraternity who argue that the male should simply nurture self-control. This approach creates a diversion of focus away from the reducing sexual assault case to victim blaming; therefore, the problem remains unresolved and tangled up in shifting of blame on who is victim.
How can sexual violence be stopped or put to an end?
Clearly, effective measures need to be put in place, to curb any sexually-related violence in the work stations. Organizations need to set up internal anti-sexual harassment policies, indiscriminately applicable to all staff members irrespective of rank/status, and depict a visible commitment to these rules (DALEY et al. 5). This move eradicates the hostile working environment, previously caused by the pervasive workplace vice, and workflow and efficiency at work is evidenced by top-notch performance.
Also, firms can set clear guidelines for appropriate human interactions while in the work premises. The creation of such norms and promotion of expected codes of conduct encourages acceptable behavior; hence, the workplace is founded on a culture of mutual respect (DALEY et al. 5). In addition, the upper management and leaders should lead by example and model these principles to reinforce goodwill.
Channels for reporting these cases have to be created in such a way that they eradicate the fear of victimization on the part of the victim, who might be a junior staff. This development removes any complications insofar as speaking out when harassment occurs. When a report is raised, effective action has to be taken to all found culpable, based on evidence. This ultimately will boost confidence in the process and promote an optimal working environment, free of oppression, bolstering work performance.
In conclusion, sexual violence in the place of work is amoral, unacceptable, and needs to be addressed. All organizations with a workforce, irrespective of its size, should build reporting channels to enhance open communication with their staff. Company should enact curb policies to protect its staff against any form of harassment that would interrupt employee efficiency and work flow.
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