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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

Raise Your Voice:Workshop on Sexual Harassment

*Trigger warning/Content warning - mentions of sexual harassment/sexual assault/*

Members of IWW attended an online workshop on sexual harassment in early January hosted by Raise Your Voice.

Organised by Fellow Worker (FW) Julia, it was well attended by union members.

It was a jam packed and fast paced interactive workshop where scenarios, statistics and current issues pertaining to sexual harassment were up for discussion by FWs through text contribution features.

The workshop hosts read privately relayed contributions from FWs which ensured anonymity in the discussions, and a flow to the workshop which covered a vast amount in just over one hour.

Everything possible was done by organisers to ensure the relative safety of participants given the sensitive, emotional and distressing nature of some of the content and topics.

Throughout the workshop we were presented with polls to gauge our knowledge of or opinions on harassment not only in the workplace, but in society and culturally.

The scenarios presented didn’t have a hard and fast correct answer.

These were to ask us to examine context and appropriateness given behaviour demonstrated in a series of short clips.

Different people identified separate factors and questions underlying and arising from the topic.

Some of the brief scenarios were less divisive than others, while some covered the terrain of uncertainty and questioning of motives.

Various points from the floor were raised and acknowledged by the three hosts.

We then moved on to a statistics module where we were polled on our understanding of the reality of reported and unreported sexual harassment and assault drawing from recent research.

During this part of the workshop, FWs could still type questions or comments to the hosts who would relay them to the rest of the group.

This was the emotionally heavier part of the workshop, as fact after fact outlined the failures of employers and justice systems to address and resolve systemic problems.

The workshop officially closed out with a brief explanation of the hierarchy of the cultural behaviours which give rise to sexual harassment and an explanation of the delay in legislating for things like internet based sexual abuse.

The hosts then remained online to discuss anything arising from the workshop.

A list of support-lines were presented for FWs needing additional support after the thorough and informative presentations.

Feedback from FWs indicated the workshop was useful, informative and worthwhile.


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