Another decade of #MeToo?

Written by Caitlin McCullough.

The last decade was revelatory in terms of sexual harassment – the rise of awareness sparked by the #MeToo Movement has changed the conversation nationally, hopefully for the better. Certainly the rhetoric of #believesurvivors has become more normal, and the understanding that people in powerful positions can (and do) abuse that through sexual harassment and violence has become more widespread.

Is there more to do?

But what are we doing, as we go into 2020, to make this the decade that eliminates sexual harassment? Are you happy to leave this at an awareness level, or do you want to do something more to create lasting change?

I know I’m certainly in the second camp! There are a range of ways to do this – support local activist groups; donate to your local Rape Crisis Centre; sign petitions and support campaigns to improve the judicial process and criminal justice system nationally and internationally; make it known to your friends and colleagues that there is certain behavior that you consider unacceptable; challenge jokes that are made at the expense of survivors; boycott prominent figures who are perpetrators of sexual violence.

Any one of those small actions can have an impact.

Make A Public Statement

There’s another thing you can do if you’re based in Sussex that is a concrete, coherent way to respond to the MeToo movement proactively – pursue the Survivors’ Network #OverToYou Kitemark. As the lead on this project at the charity I believe this is a simple, powerful way to make a public statement as a business or organisation that you do not tolerate sexual harassment, and that you support survivors.

The steps to achieve the Kitemark are simple – ensure you have an appropriate policy regarding sexual harassment (you’d be surprised how many don’t), ensure you create a workplace environment that considers sexual harassment unacceptable (less tangible, but supported through training & consistent communication with staff), and train your managers and HR personnel to be prepared to support any staff members who experience sexual harassment. This training is particularly useful, as the skills you learn in it aren’t only applicable in the workplace – given that, statistically, everyone will know someone who has experienced sexual harassment, having the training in how to best respond to a first disclosure can be so reassuring.

So many people have spoken out about the #MeToo Movement, calling for change, but aren’t sure what their next steps should be. This is a clear, straight-forward way for you to be a part of that change – I really do urge you, if you make just one commitment heading into 2020, to pursue the Kitemark and become part of a growing movement for change in our county.

You can find out more about the Kitemark here.

I truly hope that this year marks the start of a better decade. Global news may suggest otherwise, but we all have a part to play in making our small corner of the world better, safer and more equal.

What will you do to stop the 20s being another decade of #MeToo? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to ask any questions about the Kitemark too.

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