Sexual Assault Awareness in HR
RQ1: what is your understanding on sexual assault?
Sexual Assault is a word likened to sexual Harassment. According to the retaliation policy based on order and accountability, 2011, sexual assault is an offensive act of sexual nature which may be persistent, intimidating and hostile in a work environment. The federal Equal employment opportunity commission suggests it as an unwelcome special sexual request or advances asked in form of favors, verbal or physical conducts which might be of sexual nature.
RQ2: What are the steps of creating sexual assault awareness?
Eberhardt, et al., suggests that there are procedures for responding to sexual assault in workplace. Creating a report scheme for both the managers and the employees to follow makes them aware of the situation in workplace environments. As employees, in case the harasser advances sexually and you are unable or are uncomfortable with the situation, there is a need to provide the scene of incidence and report to the human resource director immediately. Managers and employers similarly should take all concerns and allegations seriously and should not allow or tolerate such scenes. In fact, they should organize an immediate investigation of the process and offer warnings to prevent future similar events
RQ3: what are the barriers to reporting sexual assault for both men and women?
When these assaulted individuals were asked why they are barred from reporting the situations they confirmed the following reasons: shame, embarrassment, guilt and not wanting friends and family to know, fear of not being trusted or believed, concerns on confidentiality(Sable et al., 2006). In most cases different assault victims may fear being gender; both genders have the perception of the fear of being judged as maybe gay especially for the male victims. Sometimes these individuals may fear retaliation from the sexual offender.
RQ4: What are the barriers to working with Sexual assault survivors?
Ullman & Townsend, 2007, states that societal attitudes, organizational barriers, environmental factors are some of the barriers to working with sexual assault survivors. Understanding these perspectives require our perspectives on service-related barriers that may need collaborative research and professional guidance. Different professional backgrounds give different negotiating aspects to help ease such tensions. First, they have to deal with identifying the victims face to help interview the assault case and to talk about the experiences through an advocate. Some of these victims should be given a modest approach and understanding by issuing to them medical advances, legal mental health attention. Reviewing every individual’s experience requires a proper measure to be used to assist the survivors in workplaces. Trauma related to rape crisis may be very victimizing and therefore there is need to understand certain concepts for keeping the survivors safe and mentally stable.
RQ5: what is an empowerment approach to working with sexual assault survivors?
Ullman & Townsend, 2008, states that there is need to understand what constitutes the empowerment used by rape crisis advocates working with sexual assault survivors. The feminist empowerment approach requires that each survivor is specifically drawn and is keenly observed to avoid trauma in the process of work. There are different implications for empowering the sexual assault survivors and in most instances, there is need to ground such facts to social justices to issues that may arise from an explicit standing point of pursuing social justice.
Eberhardt, B. J., Moser, S. B., & McFadden, D. (1999). Sexual harassment in small government units: An investigation of policies and attitudes. Public Personnel Management, 28(3), 351-364.
Order, M. E., & Accountability, D. P. (2011). Subject: Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Policy. Policy, 5, 02.
Sable, M. R., Danis, F., Mauzy, D. L., & Gallagher, S. K. (2006). Barriers to reporting sexual assault for women and men: Perspectives of college students. Journal of American College Health, 55(3), 157-162.
Ullman, S. E., & Townsend, S. M. (2007). Barriers to working with sexual assault survivors: A qualitative study of rape crisis center workers. Violence against women, 13(4), 412-443.
Ullman, S. E., & Townsend, S. M. (2008). What is an empowerment approach to working with sexual assault survivors?. Journal of Community Psychology, 36(3), 299-312.
My 3 articles are listed below:
HR Sexual Assault Awareness
The issue of sexual assault in the workplace in the workplace deserves to be given attention. Sexual assault is defined as non-consensual sexual contact with a person without his or her permission. According to Merkin and Shah (2014), it is important to focus on sexual assault because it impacts negatively on employees. One of the immediate consequences is that employee productivity is affected. The victims are unable to work due to fear, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Such employees also disengage from the workplace and have low levels of job satisfaction. Other effects of sexual assault include lack of motivation, high absenteeism rate, and increased turnover. Sexual assault awareness is very important because it touches on the functions of HR department. It is important for the HR department to maintain high retention rate. This is because replacement of employees involves high hidden and unhidden costs. These costs include recruitment fees, training, onboarding, and loss of time.
As suggested by Merkin and Shah (2014), sexual assault awareness can be achieved through employee training. In this regard, some states such as California require companies with five or more workers to provide sexual-assault and harassment training. Training can be conducted through the traditional, lecture-based, in-person format or the internet. Similarly, New York requires training to reduce the risk of unethical, illegal, and irresponsible behavior by employees. Training should cover several issues such as the definition of sexual assault, the conducts that constitute sexual assault, the reporting mechanism, and how complaints should be adjudicated. It is important that the HR department establishes a complaint mechanism. Preferably, the company should develop an anonymous system to ensure victims are not exposed to retaliation.
Merkin, R. S., & Shah, M. K. (2014). The impact of sexual harassment on job satisfaction, turnover intentions, and absenteeism: Findings from Pakistan compared to the United States. SpringerPlus, 3(1), 1-13.
In Merkin and Shah’s (2014) view, sexual assault is a serious problem in the work place because it negatively affects employee outcomes. For instance, sexual assault affects affective commitment and leads to a decline in organizational performance and productivity. Other outcomes include tardiness, absenteeism, and stress-related health problems. To address this problem it is important for the employer to maintain a positive working environment. In particular, the HR Department ought to develop an anti-assault policy and complaint procedure. Such a policy should outline the disciplinary measures and the formal complaint mechanism. The HR department should not only develop an anti-sexual assault policy, but it should also actively maintain a safe working environment.
The HR department can create awareness in the workplace by distributing pamphlets and other materials. An important component of creating awareness is through bystander intervention training. That way every employee is responsible of maintaining a safe working environment. Also, there should be a zero-tolerance policy which should be communicated regularly through meetings. If possible, the executives should actively take part in these meetings to show their commitment towards maintaining a safe culture. To ensure employees are dedicated towards eliminating sexual assault, the HR Department should conduct regular surveys. They should use the feedback collected to improve their sexual-assault prevention programs.
Perhaps as part of their awareness campaign, the HR Department should provide support to the victims. One of the possible solutions is forming employee assistance programs (EAPs). EAPs have been found to be effective in maintaining staff wellness (Attridge, 2019). These employer-sponsored programs can help victims in dealing with the effects of sexual assault. Through EAPs the victims can receive confidential assessment, counseling, and follow-up services (Attridge, 2019). Finally, the management should actively monitor employees for signs of inappropriate behavior.
Attridge, M. (2019). A global perspective on promoting workplace mental health and the role of employee assistance programs. American Journal of Health Promotion, 33(4), 622-629.
Merkin, R. S., & Shah, M. K. (2014). The impact of sexual harassment on job satisfaction, turnover intentions, and absenteeism: findings from Pakistan compared to the United States. SpringerPlus, 3, 215. https://doi.org/10.1186/2193-1801-3-215
Sexual violence has become prevalent due to the explosion of the social media. Acquaviva, O’Neal, and Clevenger (2021) attribute the acceptance of sexual violence in the society to the normalization of the rape culture. Even in the workplace, sexist beliefs and behaviors have become commonplace. The Human Resource Department has an important role to play in investigating cases of sexual assault and resolving any complaints. The department is also charged with responsibility of popularizing the policy and drafting complaint procedures. More important, the HR department has a role to play in proactively preventing sexual assault through education programs.
According to a study conducted by Daigneault, Hébert, McDuff, Michaud, Vézina-Gagnon, Henry, and Porter-Vignola (2015), creating awareness about sexual assault increases victim empathy and decreases adherence to rape myths. Organizations should be committed towards educating employees about respecting each other. One of the solutions of reducing cases of sexual assault in the workplace is by holding workshops. These workshops are effective in promoting gender-equitable attitudes and modifying behavioral intentions. Besides holding workshops, the HR department can distribute literature and use internet to sensitize employees about this issue.
Another way in which the HR Department can participate is by showing commitment to the sexual assault awareness month. This is a great time for the HR Department to cooperate with other stakeholders to address this problem. Such a program would help women who are often the victim of gender-based assault and harassment. Gender-based violence damages women’s prospects of gaining employment, getting higher wages, and pursuing their career aspirations (Jacobson & Eaton, 2018). Sensitizing workers about sexual women not only helps women but also the organizations themselves. This is because they must make legal payments and monetary benefits to victims when sex-based offenses occur.
Acquaviva, B. L., O’Neal, E. N., & Clevenger, S. L. (2021). Sexual assault awareness in the #Metoo era: Student perceptions of victim believability and cases in the media. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 46(1), 6-32. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12103-020-09585-7
Daigneault, I., Hébert, M., McDuff, P., Michaud, F., Vézina-Gagnon, P., Henry, A., & Porter-Vignola, É. (2015). Effectiveness of a sexual assault awareness and prevention workshop for youth: A 3-month follow-up pragmatic cluster randomization study. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24(1), 19-30. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2626
Jacobson, R. K., & Eaton, A. A. (2018). How organizational policies influence bystander likelihood of reporting moderate and severe sexual harassment at work. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 30(1), 37-62.
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