So does your seniority automatically give you the green card to make mistakes?
Have you ever thought about the number of cases of sexual violence that go unnoticed or are silenced by big companies because the perpetrator is of a higher position?
“As per the 2020-21 NCW report, it received 26,513 complaints from women, marking a sharp rise from the 20,309 complaints registered in 2019-20, which is an increase of 25.09% in complaints. The total number of sexual harassment complaints at workplaces climbed up by 27% in the financial year ending March 2022 as compared with the previous year, according to data analysis compiled by anti-sexual harassment advisers, Complykaro.com.”
In general, the reporting of the case is the scariest task for a survivor of sexual violence to do. Many questions like ‘Will they believe me?’, ‘What if they think I’m lying?’, ‘What if I lose my job?’ arise. If that’s not enough, this is followed by waves of crippling self-doubt and self-blame where they’re made to believe that they had a role to play in these dire situations and that nothing can be done for their well-being anymore.
Instance after instance, companies will try to protect their name and the name of the perpetrator who is obviously in a huge position of power. It’s a tale as old as time. But remember this: With a position of power comes a whole lot of responsibility. The onus of the company’s well being is on the perpetrator. More often than not, the company may try to shove this under the carpet to protect the abuser rather than speak for someone who is powerless, and who (they wrongfully think) is more disposable to the company as an employee.
Sadly, this is the case not just with companies but even schools and other such institutions that look down upon abuse and don't want their name to be associated (read: maligned) with any such mishappening in their companies.
Let me ask you a few hard questions: How many survivors have to suffer for a company to uphold their name? When will companies and other institutions take the responsibility of actually caring for the employee and their mental health? In that case, how do you make sure your company is inclusive towards mental health and harassment?
- POSH committee: Make sure that your company has a POSH committee that is unbiased, and has the safety of the survivor in mind. Sometimes, individuals in this committee aren't trained well enough, and that could re-traumatize the survivor.
- Regular training: Training and workshops on workplace safety should be kept mandatory. It is necessary to let employees know how they can exercise their rights if they face any kind of trouble.
- Mental health breaks/leaves: while this is something that every company doesn’t offer, it is important for them to be mental health friendly where they would allow you a few hours off for therapy or even a mental health day!
Meet the Author
Shipra's main areas of focus are the connections between the body and mind. She uses a trauma-informed & needs-based approach to counselling. Shipra believes in always trying to create a healthy balance between work and life.
She also loves sunsets, beaches, kittens, chai and cooking. Growing plants is her form of grounding, and she’s found to resort to Disney or the Mamma Mia soundtrack when everything else is spiraling.
Shipra Parswani, Psychologist