5 Rules to control workplace sexual harassment and be a better ‘Man’
My dear boys, (yes, you will always remain boys to me)
The recent workplace sexual harassment and ‘MeToo’ controversy made me write this open letter to all my students.
In the previous more than two decades, we interacted a lot. Each one of those interactions have borne wonderful fruitful insights to me. All through those years, I tried my best to make an extra effort to bond with you all at different levels. We have shared our hearts, discussed various tricky and ‘Hush-Hush’ issues with equal ease and comfort. Hmmm! but wait, did we ever talk about the ‘taboo’ topic of ‘workplace sexual harassment’! I doubt.
When I was your teacher, you were at a very young and impressionable age. It is such a proud feeling to find all of you excelling in your personal as well as professional lives. Now that you are all grown ups, in the wake of the latest ‘MeToo’ controversy, I feel like sharing my thoughts with all of you.
This open letter is to remind each one of you that ‘YOU’ as individuals have inherent greatness, potential to love and respect everyone (read ‘women’) around you at all given times. Believe me my boys, this world needs better men so that the incidents of workplace sexual harassment could go down to the minimum.
Here I have to share five rules for all the men like you to follow and gift each and every woman around you a secure happy place to live and work in.
5 rules to control workplace sexual harassment
· Never infer meanings of simple acts
Remember my boys, when your co-worker agrees to go out with you for a cup of coffee or a drink, please do not infer in any way that she wishes to have sex with you. The girl who agrees to go out with you has no plan to get raped. She goes out with you because she considers you to be a safe and interesting company. Stay one.
· Never victimize a victim
Any co-worker who shares the harrowing molestation experience with you is surely in need of your help. The reason she opens up with you is that she sees the strength of character in you, which will make you stand for her. Stand true to her belief. If you ignore her or refuse to stand for her, that would make her a second time victim.
· Show empathy
There may be times when you know that someone is being victimized in your workplace. No, you don’t have to be flag bearer without the consent of the concerned individual. Try to speak to the person and show your support if the victim plans to open up but please do not force your revolutionary thoughts on someone who is not ready. Any such over initiative can make things difficult for both of you. Remember it is primarily your co-worker’s battle not yours.
· Do not judge
If you come to know of any such unfortunate incident in your workplace please do not be a party to gossip and character assassination of the victim. Never ever even think of taking advantage of someone’s misfortune. If you cannot do anything positive to support the victim, at least stay away from passing judgement about someone whom you don’t know.
· Be the change you want to see
Today you may not be in a position to take on the predator due to some personal compulsions but tomorrow when you will be there, ensure that you create a safe and happy workplace for the employees. Till then your smallest gesture of respect and being a conscious ally can do wonders to the confidence of your suffering co-worker.
Boys, I understand that you have worked hard to reach your present place and practically speaking it will be a foolish act to throwaway all, just in support of some co-worker. You must speak and only when you are required to. Stand up but ‘safely’ for someone who can bring some positive change around.
‘Sexual Harassment is common not normal’
The root of all such acts of workplace sexual harassment is ‘desire to be powerful’. It is this desire to control that violates the sanctity of humanity. Sexual harassment at the workplace is a common phenomenon in all societies all over the world but that doesn’t give you a licence to be part of them. It is common but not at all normal. As a responsible member of a respectable society and workplace, it is your duty too to bring about a change.
As my ‘boys’, I handover this responsible task to each one of you to bring about the small changes in your workplace to make it a happy productive heaven filled with smiles and bonhomie. Remember, few years from the present day you will have your own kids stepping out for their workplaces. Make them carry on the legacy of a loving, respectful and open work atmosphere instead of closed glass cabins stinking of dirty secrets.
My ‘Boys’, never ever let anyone raise this MeToo banner in your workplace. Ah! That reminds me, have you checked if your work place is following ‘Vishakha guidelines’!
Share with your friends and family my 5 Rules to control workplace sexual harassment and be a better ‘Man’.
I poured my heart here too-