Preventing sexual violence requires employers to ensure that all employees have the tools and education to address it. The first step in preventing sexual violence in the workplace is to build an environment of consent at work.
Consent and respect must be practiced within the workplace. Some examples of how to practice consent can include:[i]
- Obtaining consent before engaging in non-sexual forms of touch
- Not revealing a colleague’s personal information without their consent
- Asking if it is an appropriate time to talk; not assuming your colleague is in a space to talk
- Obtaining consent before photographing others
Consider contributing factors
Look around your workplace and assess if there are contributing factors for sexual violence.
- What’s the make-up of your workplace - are women the majority?
- Who’s in leadership positions?
- Are women dominant in certain occupations at your work?
- Is there a concentration of racialized women and other equity-seeking groups in specific departments and/or occupations?
- Do your members work with the public?
- Do your members work alone and/or late at night?
- Does your management team actively address health and safety in the workplace?
- Are worksites, exits and entrances, including parking lots, well-lit and accessible?
- Are there appropriate and visible institutional supports for members who may have experienced workplace sexual violence?
- Are there appropriate and visible prevention campaign material about sexual violence in the workplace?
[i] Suzannah Weiss, “7 Ways to Practice Consent Outside of the Bedroom,” Everyday Feminism Magazine, 2015. Available at https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/11/practice-consent-beyond-sex