The #MeToo Movement: Speaking Out Against Sexual Harassment and Assault
This year, Time Magazine named “The Silence Breakers” of the #MeToo anti-harassment movement as Person of the Year. The viral campaign speaks out against sexual harassment and assault by allowing victims to stand with others and say, “me too”. The hashtag, #MeToo, is one of the fastest moving social changes of the decade. Its use on social media has encouraged women (and men) to break silence around sexual abuse.
Specifically, the #MeToo movement points to the reality that harassment happens more often than we’re aware of. In a July 2017 release, Statistics Canada reported that the rate of self-reported sexual assault in 2014 occurred at 22 incidents for every 1,000 Canadians. In a November 2017 report, the Abacus Data Survey revealed that sexual harassment in Canada spans even further. Data showed that almost 53% of adult women have experienced “unwanted sexual pressure”. With this, the survey noted that just over one in ten Canadians said sexual harassment is common in their workplace.
How have these online conversations changed sexual harassment in the workplace?
The #MeToo movement really heightened awareness of unwanted verbal or physical abuse in the workplace by taking the conversation to social spaces. The use of two simple words opened up revelations of sexual violence and abuse in both private and public sectors. Its become an eye opener to the scale and reach of these issues that are taking place on the job. Not only is this prevalent in Canada, but across all races, income classes, and occupation statuses. Its become an international movement that has disrupted companies both large and small, in a global conversation. At the very least, the social campaign has prompted companies to re-evaluate their corporate culture, by taking a closer look at the policies and procedures that support a harassment-free workplace.
What are you doing to address sexual harassment in the workplace?
Do you have an anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure in place? Remember, as an employer, you can be held liable for discrimination based on sex.