She may be sitting next to you, or in the cubicle down the hall. The quiet girl who came in late today. Tear stains ran down her creek, and she was wearing sun glasses. Last time that happened it was because she had a black eye. Do you approach her? What do you say? Do you just look away and mind your own business? With current statistics 1/4 women and 1/6 men are living in domestic violence. And they are trying to hold down a job to the best of their ability. It is a situation that we must approach. We can no longer afford to just ignore her. It is time for our Employers to offer assistance when someone is being stalked. It IS happening at work too!
I know for me, that was one of my ex’s favorite things to do – call me 20 times in an hour to harass me. Or suddenly stop in and make a big scene in front of my coworkers. It was so embarrassing. I have even quit jobs just to get away from him. My boss knew what was happening – yet did nothing.
As employers we have EAP programs (Employee Assistance Programs) to help with drug addictions, alcohol addictions, counseling, health issues, aging parents, maternity leaves, medical leaves, etc. but my question is – where is everyone when a woman is getting stalked at work? Nobody wants to talk to her or help her escape. Nobody wants to help her form an escape plan and look for housing for her and her children. For me, I just got reprimanded for being late, missing work, etc. Perhaps your experience was different.
Today I challenge all the companies and corporations out there. Stop ignoring the abused worker in your workplace. Let’s stop the silence. The stress they are living under is unbearable. It is affecting them and their work. They need this job, and they need some support. Help them escape instead.
Here are some alarming statistics from Employers Against Domestic Violence:
Domestic violence affects productivity and increases absenteeism:
24% of women between the ages of 18 and 65 have experienced domestic violence (EDK Associates, The Many Faces of Domestic Violence and its Impact on the Workplace, 1997).
74% of employed battered women were harassed by their partner while at work. This caused 56% of them to be late for work at least five times a month, 28% to leave early at least five days a month, and 54% to miss at least three full days of work a month.
The total health care costs of family violence are estimated in the hundreds of millions each year, much of which is paid for by the employer. 44% of executives surveyed say that that domestic violence increases their health care costs (Pennsylvania Blue Shield Institute, Social Problems and Rising Health Care Costs in Pennsylvania, pp. 3-5, 1992).
47% of senior executives polled said that domestic violence has a harmful effect on the company’s productivity (Roper Starch Worldwide Study for Liz Claiborne, Inc., 1994).
71% of EAP providers surveyed have dealt with an employee being stalked at work by a current of former partner, and 83% have assisted an employee with a restraining order.
78% of Human Resources professionals polled by Personnel Journal said that domestic violence is a workplace issue (April, 1995, page 65).
94% of Corporate Security Directors surveyed rank domestic violence as a high security problem at their company. National Safe Workplace Institute survey, as cited in “Talking Frankly About Domestic Violence,” Personnel Journal, April, 1995, page 64).
(All images from Pinterest)