It has taken me awhile to write this blog, there is so much to talk and focus on. Being a transwoman gives me a unique insight into behaviours from both sides of the fence and sometimes a taste of the worst kind of transphobia, sexual harassment and victimisation.
I had the pleasure of meeting Heather J MacKenzie at the What lies beneath? Beyond #metoo that was sponsored by TechinSA. She was the key note speaker along with being a panel member after the address.
To see the address and panel discussion please follow this link. Video What lies beneath? Beyond #metoo that was sponsored by TechinSA
Over the following week I began to think about what had happened to me and others.
We need to challenge bad behaviours that are unacceptable. I left a Community organisation and social group due to harassment levelled at me because I rejected an individual’s advances.
I think that community groups come under the same rules out lined in the WHS act and Anti-discrimination act. What happened next would be both a breach of duty of care and sexual harassment provisions of these acts.
I was a member of the committee; private correspondence was shared with members and victim blaming from the previous harassment conducted after I had left.
I had the opportunity to support my partner with her efforts in being a constructive member of the same organisation. I felt safe to support her and attend the social gathering afterwards. To add insult to injury after being told that my harasser is no longer attending they turned up. This is when I found out how bad the victim blaming had gotten. How I was portrayed as the villain. How I should not have been drinking, I should not have said no, I should not have worn that dress.
It is particularly important that organisations and businesses have proper policies and procedures in place to deal with harassment. The approach must be inclusive, no victim blaming and with a focus on correcting the bad behaviour not rewarding it. The importance of the management team in conducting themselves in a professional way can not be understated.
We are all members of this society and working together is the only way we can achieve a world where we are treated with respect, be it Transgender, cisgender, female, male, black or white.
Now is a good time to conduct an audit on your policies, procedures, disciplinary and complaints systems.
For the most vulnerable of us reporting instances to the Equal Opportunity Commission or Human rights Commission in your state will assist in prosecutions and collection of data. For this to be visible they need to be reported.