The following are examples of sexual violence with examples of how you could help:
You are waitressing and you notice one of your workmates, Nicky, being hassled by a rowdy table. You overhear their comments;
“I’ll have you for dessert, darlin’.”
“I’d like to see what’s under that uniform.”
“We’re just having a laugh.”
You can tell Nicky is embarrassed but tries to let it slide.
What To Say
- Check in with Nicky – Is she okay? Listen to her and ask her what she would like you to do.
- If you feel safe, confront the table. Tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable and unwelcome.
- Tell your supervisor or manager. It is their job to provide you with a safe working environment. They should intervene.
The work party has finally arrived!
There is only one downside to the event. It’s your boss, Gary. In the past he has been inappropriate at these events; pinching peoples bums, cracking sexist jokes, humiliating newbies.
During the party you notice Gary sliding up next to Sarah, the newest staff member to the office. In no time he has his arm around her waist and is pouring her more wine. He then offers to take her for a “private” tour of his office.
If the person using sexual violence is in a position of power or authority it can sometimes feel difficult to intervene. You should know that you have a right to safe and respectful treatment from your colleagues, boss, and anyone else you have a working relationship with.
What To Say
- You could help remove Sarah from the situation by offering a distraction.
- Ask other work colleges to help you run interference. The more people you have on your side the better.
- Find out your workplace policy for handling sexual harassment and follow it
- Make a note of events, such as;
- The date
- The time
- What happened
- Who was involved
- If following your workplace procedure hasn’t worked for you, and you and your workmates are serious about stopping this behaviour, you can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission for more information and to make a formal complaint. Complaint Info Line: 1300 656 419