What to do to eradicate violence against women in the workplace?

Gender-based violence within the working context identifies four groups: Employers, aggressors, victims, and witnesses/spectators.

Those who witness violence against women at work play a significant role at the time of stopping or allowing the aggression. An indifferent attitude in the face of such a situation makes the victim feel more vulnerable and intensifies the violent attitude of the aggressor.

Violencia en el trabajo

Because of the vulnerable situation they find themselves in, decision initiated by victims against their aggressor is complex. Hence, it is of utmost importance that organizations set forth directives acknowledging and correcting mistreatment against women. Such an attitude assumed by the Company portrays a fundamental support for victims who will then feel protected and will find it easier to denounce such actions.

Because of this, all corporate policies should be focused on a zero-tolerance stance concerning violence against women, in order to adequately set forth the procedures to address actual cases in the workplace.

As a whole, the actors of an organization must be capable of developing actions aimed at eliminating this problem from the top management, to be enforced by all persons working in the Company, both victims and aggressors must become assertive participants in creating a safe workplace.

Each of these groups overcomes violence against women from the position they fill in the Company, as follows:

Corporate managers:

  1. Top management and human resources conceive and implement a training activity on the issue, which is aimed at making a assessment of the workplace and prepare zero-tolerance policies to fight violence against women in the working context. 
  2. The organization must act assertively in facilitating the denunciation procedures and in guiding victims to approach state-run and specialized services that exist to prevent and intervene in cases of violence against women.
  3. Create dialogue opportunities among members of staff on the issue, making sure that they can share their points of view openly, without being judged, thus finding possible actions and solutions to the situation.
  4. If a case of violence exerted against a female colleague takes place at home, or at the workplace, the victim should receive and feel support from her organization.

The Victim:

  1. The victim should not keep the violence situation silent; she must reach out and look for support to denounce her aggressor.

The Spectators:

  1. When acting as witnesses, the persons involved should listen without judging; strive to provide a trustworthy ambiance and credibility thus enabling the victim to express herself unabashedly.
  2. Those who have witnessed the deeds must advise the victim encouraging her to denounce the situation, and—if at all possible—provide accompaniment in the process.
  3. Whenever victims are afraid to denounce their aggressor, witnesses must denounce violent acts before the competent authority.
  4. Persons who are close to the violent incident should be ready to assist the victims and their children through public or private  institutions. Such an assistance will allow victims to make decisions. More often than not, the absence of support in this aspect makes it hard for affected women to denounce or take action to defend themselves.
  5. Reluctancy to participate or promote behaviors that make women uneasy—even if not being the main aggressor—can turn a person into a secondary ally when he/she supports or rejoices the inappropriate behavior of the aggressor.

-It is pertinent not to cooperate and take part in obscene remarks and conversations that make women uneasy.

-Do not make comments or jokes that encourage the attitude of the aggressor when he/she intends to offend, denigrate, or humiliate a woman. 

-Reject the idea of disseminating or sharing pornography within the workplace.

The Aggressors:

  1. An aggressor who accepts his/her aggression and not incur in any other acts of violence against women shows that he/she is capable of changing the working context and that he/she is part of the solution.

The attitude to be adopted by the aggressor, should he/she wish to redress violent acts is to:

-Ask for psychological assistance to help modify his/her behavior.

-Abstain from insulting women, not threatening them constantly by saying that he/she will dismiss her.

-Eliminate assigning excessive work.

– Allow for women to perform all of their duties without limiting their access to information.

– Abstain from defaming and issuing denigrating comments on the female gender.

– Recognize women’s achievements in the Company without retracting her abilities based on her gender.

-Refuse to participate in harassment groups that encourage violence against women.