back to work, I mean, Kindergarten part I
The work saga continues….
Last week somethting interesting and quite disturbing happened. A female work colleague was harassed and touched inappropriatley by her superior, who acts as a sort of manager, but has no real say in how business is conducted. Unless, of course, we are talking about gender business.
The employee finally complained and all her hurt and frustration burst out in a moment of extreme and warranted sadness and shame. She had carried these feelings for a while, as she feared that speaking out would endanger her job and future proespects of getting a job. Because the manager’s or rather supervisor’s conduct reflects on the whole business and everyone would be somehow involved in this if she spoke out, she denied her feelings until she could not cope any longer, her sense of justice luckily got the better of her and she did eventually complain and open herself up to immense scrutiny from every other eomployee. She did this to highlight the injustice that occured.
Noone who saw the supervisor misbehaving said anything. The male employees frequently stated (after the event was brought up) that they were not aware that there was an issue, that they thought it was all a joke.
Furthermore, they ended up complaining about the whole situation, because people would not see it from their point of view, people did not know, how vulnerable these men were, as they were being limited in their rights to make jokes and could not be safe from, yes, here it comes, female harassment.
From the moment that my co-worker complained about being abominably treated at a place which should be safe for her, she was an outcast. The women were too afraid to stand by her side and the men used all their powers of rhetorik to play everything down and turn every single argument around to make the women look bad and look like the aggressor.
The supervisor, in the meantime, wasn’t to be seen for a whole week, due to illness or feigned illness, I don’t know. It is reported that he will be back at work on Wednesday to ‘justify’ himself and speak up, which he has the right to. Noone denies him the right to speak, I just don’t think that he has the right to grope.
The workers will then perhaps have another consultation on how to dissolve (not solve, dis-solve) this issue. I only hope that this will set some rules and make the workers aware of boundaries at the workplace and highlight their destructive behaviour (made even more destructive by having been allegedly done ‘by accident’ and with the best of intentions).