The Harvey Weinstein episode forced many people to re-examine sexual harassment at workspace. Many women shared their experiences with hashtag #MeToo.
It was apparent that silence and escapism have fuelled the behaviour. There is no surprise at the spectrum, depth and width of this malice that seems to engulf every profession.
The inappropriate behaviour finds rampant support and encouragement within the extended work environment. For the women, there are no escaping jokes and conversations with sexual overtones. There are gestures and suggestions, demand and implication of sexual nature. Normally, the victims fail to muster courage to report.
Unfortunately in the power-centric male-dominated space, the woman is still branded guilty or instigator. The predator roams free. It has been going on for far too long.
Sexual harassment is partially about sex and exploitation. It is more about power and control. Gender inequality in power, freedom, pay and expectations creates an environment where it flourishes.
It is not a question of Hollywood, Bollywood, MNCs or Indian Companies. Marketing, Advertising, Media and research. More prevalent in paces where people work long hours in close proximity and where the gender divide is big. Organisations know of the possible action they must take. Hence, I am not talking about them. I am talking of the other half.
‘MeToo’ coined by Tarana Burke to support ‘women of colour surviving sexual abuse’ in its new avatar of ‘Sexual Harassment in work space’ in 2017 got a million shares on Twitter in 48 hours. On Facebook, it crossed 12 million comments and share in 24 hours.
The collectivism of sharing personal experience gave many a courage to speak. Lot many found ways to come to terms with their experiences and to stop blaming themselves. While sharing experiences in first person has overall failed to impact the degree and frequency of such incidences it is still an effort worth applauding. Unfortunately, it has every chance to fizzle out like #YesAllWomen, where women shared their experiences with male entitlement and violence.
#MeToo showed how common sexual harassment at the workplace was. No profession from films, sports, politics, medicine or even teaching was left untouched. In such a scenario, it is not unreasonable to assume that a huge number of predators and silent supporters of sexual harassment at workplace exist. Their salience, like the silence of the victims the predator continue with inappropriate behaviour.
This brings me to my agenda, A one-on-one discussion with men. Though I here address men, many women may find themselves to be equally guilty of the act.
The change needs to happen within the MALE of the society.
Tweet and share with #MeTooGuilty,
In case you have in the past covertly, overtly supported or indulged in sexually inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.
Tweet and share with #NotMe,
If you seriously believe you has never been part of it. Your actions have not encouraged the in appropriate behaviour. I have doubt if someone can seriously honestly use it. And here ‘Men will be Men’ is not an excuse or a thing to laugh at.
We all know what is an INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR that makes women uncomfortable at the workplace. So, question yourself.
Have you ever knowingly or unknowingly contributed towards creating an environment that accepts and suggests attitudes and behaviours around sexuality?
Has your behaviour or silence helped propagate sexual harassment at the workplace?
Share #MeTooGuilty in case you have indulged in behaviour like…
- A behaviour that you know could be termed sexual harassment.
- Have you knowingly shared explicit sexual jokes in presence of women? Doing so with the intent to make her feel uncomfortable or use that joke as a pretext and lever to push for future actions and control.
- Stared at the legs, cleavages and looked up the skirt making the colleague uncomfortable.
- Not speaking out when you knew that of an incidence of sexual harassment.
- Have you suggested sexual favours?
- It does not matter if you used the cover of drinks or used your position and power to group, kiss, brush and press against, caress, touch, feel, dance or hold women colleagues against her wishes.
- Used or encouraged the use women body to close the sale.
- Suggested and or commented on women character without any evidence.
Be honest in your thinking and intent.
To start, here is me #MeTooGuilty