I don’t know if it is common in your country but sexual harassment is extremely common in Asia, without the victims realizing that they are in danger of harassment. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? Wrong! It is wrong to ignore and avoid talking about sexual harassment in a workplace like many Asian companies do. Nobody likes to address it and if a victim approached their HR, usually it is either brush off as fiction or handled grotesquely and swept under the carpet.
A recent incident sparks my interest in this topic. A friend of mine was sexually harassed by a co-worker of hers and couldn’t approach anyone in the company for help. In the end, she broke down mentally and had to see a doctor before making a difficult ultimatum to resign from a job she loved. This isn’t fair, I know. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of gender.
It happened to me too. This guy from my company loves to ‘accidentally’ bump and brush into female colleagues. Young, old in any shape or size. Even if you go your way out to avoid him in the corridors, he will find it in him to corner you one day. Yes, it’s disgusting. And yes, he was reported many times to several superiors and the HR. Because he is a really great sales person that brings in profits and he has been around the company since it started, the director is inclined to look the other way, blatantly ignore the fact that the victims are the female employees of his company. I didn’t stay in the company for long, not directly due to this incident but such culture from the company, you can’t expect much future it can give.
A good company will address sexual harassment head on without shying away from awkward moments and will continue to do so with each of its employees individually and collectively. They make it easier for the staff to go to HR or their directive superior any kind of sensitive talk.
A good boss will be impartial, not siding the victim or the accused until an investigation is over. He or she will lend an empathy ear and advice accordingly and professionally together with HR without prejudice and personal opinions. The world has enough prejudice and bias without one more adding onto it.
A good co-worker will lend a listening supportive ear, keep his or her mouth shut and never add fuel to the fire or include their own point of views.
Lastly, a victim like you and me should never keep our mouth shut. Barge down the doors of your management, bang on the doors of the HR, even consider seeking your own lawyer’s legal advice. Stand up and say no to sexual harassment at the workplace because an office should feel safe to work in. We have our own workload to battle with and not have someone creeping us out behind us.
Have you ever encounter a creep in office like I have? Get it off your chest and share in the comments below.
Join MiddleMe at Twitter (MiddleMe_net), FaceBook (MiddleMe.net) and WeChat! Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.