Policy on Sexual Violence in the Work Environment

When talking about the work environment, what comes to mind is definitely a comfortable place with various facilities that can support productivity and work spirit. This is important because without a good work environment, employees are easily bored working there.

However, what are the factors that determine a work environment that feels safe and comfortable? In a discussion entitled Women in News held by the WAN-IFRA WIN SEA Leadership Hub 2022, a special panel raised the topic “Having Sexual Harassment Policy in the Newsroom” on Saturday (5/3/22) stating that a good work environment is an environment that also has a clear sexual violence policy.

This applies especially to women in the workplace, who are the most victims of sexual violence. Together with Mona Magdy Abdelmaksoud as Senior Manager, Gender Balance & Research, Women in News, here are the results of the discussion.

1. Policies are not only written, but must become a habit in the workspace

The Policy on Sexual Violence in the Workplace Is Not Just Writing!Mona Magdy Abdelmaksoud as Senior Manager, Gender Balance & Research, Women in News, in a discussion entitled Women in News with the topic Having Sexual Harassment Policy in the Newsroom organized by WAN-IFRA WIN SEA Leadership Hub 2022. 5 March 2022. (IDN Times / M. Tarmizi Murdianto)

Sexual violence is behavior that threatens the dignity of a person, in the form of unwanted and offensive behavior. However, sexual violence itself does not only occur in the physical workspace, but also in the workplace on line and field.

For an open workspace in the field, Mona said, for a journalist, the thing that must be considered is personal safety. One of them with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), at least a mask. Not only that, he also emphasized that if there is a policy in the workspace, it should not only be written down, but should also become a habit.

“Policies are not only written because they will only become paper, but policies must become habits that exist in the workspace,” he explained.

2. In making policy, it is important to equate perspective with open-mindedness

The Policy on Sexual Violence in the Workplace Is Not Just Writing!Mona Magdy Abdelmaksoud as Senior Manager, Gender Balance & Research, Women in News, in a discussion entitled Women in News with the topic Having Sexual Harassment Policy in the Newsroom organized by WAN-IFRA WIN SEA Leadership Hub 2022. 5 March 2022. (IDN Times / M. Tarmizi Murdianto)

Making a policy is clearly not easy. Moreover, if the policy is related to sexual violence which is still taboo and does not have a clear understanding of what behavior can be considered as sexual violence itself.

In this case, Mona said that policies could be made by equating perspectives first with an educational session referring to an understanding of sexual violence. The reason is, although many companies already have this policy, there are also many companies that do not implement it because their colleagues or employees do not know about this policy.

“We can ask for a policy or mechanism to be made to defend our rights. Following up on reports, then a common understanding about sexual violence, we can talk openly to share our thoughts and equate perspectives with honest and open discussions. This educational session is very much needed, ” he said.

3. Discussing and giving examples can increase awareness of behaviors that fall into the category of sexual violence

The Policy on Sexual Violence in the Workplace Is Not Just Writing!Mona Magdy Abdelmaksoud as Senior Manager, Gender Balance & Research, Women in News, in a discussion entitled Women in News with the topic Having Sexual Harassment Policy in the Newsroom organized by WAN-IFRA WIN SEA Leadership Hub 2022. 5 March 2022. (IDN Times / M. Tarmizi Murdianto)

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Sexual violence itself can be put into several categories, for example verbal, non-verbal, to physical. Unfortunately, the current law still only focuses on sexual violence which includes physical only.

For this reason, Mona believes that by discussing and providing examples related to sexual violence, she can raise awareness to identify any behaviors that constitute sexual violence. This is obviously important because some incidents often go unreported because people don’t know whether this behavior constitutes sexual violence or not.

“Some incidents that are not reported are not because they weren’t reported, but because people don’t know whether it was sexual violence or not. The policy is not only black and white, but also documents that provide a clear picture,” he said.

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4. Sexual violence-based policies must be updated every 6 months

The Policy on Sexual Violence in the Workplace Is Not Just Writing!Mona Magdy Abdelmaksoud as Senior Manager, Gender Balance & Research, Women in News, in a discussion entitled Women in News with the topic Having Sexual Harassment Policy in the Newsroom organized by WAN-IFRA WIN SEA Leadership Hub 2022. 5 March 2022. (IDN Times / M. Tarmizi Murdianto)

Mona also added that policies based on sexual violence basically have to be updated every 6 months. Moreover, if the policy uses too many terms that are difficult to understand.

“Policies must be updated every 6 months, especially policies that use too many terms that are difficult to understand. This legal issue must be explained, included with an explanation that is universal in terms. So, staff who have just entered can really know the policy,” he said.

5. Not only policies, sexual violence also needs systematic support

The Policy on Sexual Violence in the Workplace Is Not Just Writing!Mona Magdy Abdelmaksoud as Senior Manager, Gender Balance & Research, Women in News, in a discussion entitled Women in News with the topic Having Sexual Harassment Policy in the Newsroom organized by WAN-IFRA WIN SEA Leadership Hub 2022. 5 March 2022. (IDN Times / M. Tarmizi Murdianto)

Not only policies, talking about sexual violence in the workplace must also provide systematic support. Not only receiving reports, but there is support in the form of psychological, financial, and other support that an organization can provide to its employees.

For this, Mona said there are 10Cs that can make the work environment more positive. One of them is to create an anti-sexual violence policy itself.

Connect (we have to connect), career clear, clarity, congratulations, contribute (how we contribute), control (control workflow), collaborate where this collaboration will build credibility and confidencethe last c is create (creating an anti-sexual violence policy and we must try to make this policy),” he concluded.

Sexual violence is still difficult to identify because many victims do not know about the behavior category itself. Therefore, with the information above, it is hoped that more people will be sensitive to sexual violence and try to create good policies for a positive work environment.

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