– Authored by Ms. Aakanksha Moray, Hyderabad, Telangana
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) at workplace is commonly seen and spoken of. When we listen to the words such as rape, sexual harassment, we immediately think that a woman is a victim. It often doesn’t hit us that even men and the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer-Intersex (LGBTQI) community could also go through the same. A lot of times they are discriminated against and taken advantage of by being asked for sexual favours. Why does this concern us young people in particular? This is because many new joinees or freshers are also forced into giving sexual favours because they are threatened that if they don’t, they will lose their jobs. Especially those from the LGBTQI community are threatened that their gender identity will be publically revealed. In a society which still discriminates people based on their sexual preferences, this becomes a huge threat for many from the LGBTQI community and they are forced into such acts. This, I believe, is absolutely unfair.
In order to cope up with the stress and trauma, it is essential to have a good support system. At the workplace, colleagues and the management should support the survivors to speak up against the perpetrators. Most important aspect is to believe the survivor and not question them. The management ought to take immediate action against the perpetrator and should investigate the matter thoroughly. In case it is the immediate boss or a senior colleague who has been inflicting violence on anyone, there has to be an impartial system in place so that the survivor can file a complaint against their immediate boss or senior. Time-to-time counselling could also be done to ensure that signs of GBV are carefully picked up and immediate action is taken.
As preventive measures, every organisation must spread awareness about GBV being illegal and having serious impacts. The punishment for the perpetrators should also be mentioned. There should be a written policy in every organisation. Most importantly, every organisation must employ people purely on the basis or merit, irrespective of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The main reason why GBV at workplace is still a largely unaddressed situation is that many people go through it but cannot speak up due to various reasons. But an individual’s safety and dignity is at stake. Once it is harmed it takes a lot of time for that person to overcome his/her trauma and build up confidence. Hence, it is important that the employees, especially the new joinees and juniors, are cared for and protected by the organisation to ensure complete productivity good health of all.