Drawing on my experiences as a classroom teacher, a secondary HOD, QTU Organiser and women’s officer of a feminised union I am acutely aware that far too may QTU members have and continue to experience gendered violence (GV) in their workplace. Gendered violence impacts all genders, however non gender conforming people and women are far more likely to experience GV.
While (sadly and depressingly) most of us recognise that sexual harassment in the workplace is not uncommon (as demonstrated by the Australian Human Rights Commissions Inquiries into Sexual Harassment in Australian workplaces) what I have come to recognise is unique for teachers, that the harassment is often perpetrated by students.
In my many conversations with QTU members, friends and colleagues I am profoundly disturbed to hear of the extent to which people, mostly women, have been exposed to student-led gendered violence in their workplaces (schools and TAFE). Compounding the sheer volume of stories is the sickening realisation that too often responses to these incidences are inadequate.
The QTU, on advice from the Women’s Teachers and Girls Education Committee (WTGEC), is undertaking a unique campaign to address gender-based violence in our workplaces. This campaign is called Expect Respect.
This campaign seeks to:
- Identify the prevalence of gendered violence in our schools and TAFE campuses (survey to all members
- Promote an understanding of gendered violence (GV)
- Improve the reporting tools by the employer
- seek out the experiences of our members in relation to gendered violence.
We hope to examine to what extent this violence and harassment is student driven.
Expect respect : Addressing gendered violence [GV] at work
So, what is GV?
Victorian Trades Hall Council ‘s Stop Gendered Violence at Work campaign kit describes gendered violence in the following way;
“Gendered Violence (GV) is any action or behaviour that causes physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm to a worker because of their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or because they do not adhere to dominant gender stereotypes or socially prescribed gender roles.”
What does GV at work look like?
GV at work can be both subtle and obvious, and may include:
- intimidation / bullying
- verbal abuse
- rude gestures
- put downs
- innuendo and insinuations
- stalking and intimidation
- ostracism or exclusion
- offensive language and imagery
- sexual suggestions and unwanted advances
- being undermined in your role
- physical assaulting including sexual assault and rape.