When we talk about domestic violence as a workplace issue, usually we are thinking about the victims of abuse. But in reality, companies will have perpetrators amongst their employees. As most workplaces still have a higher percentage of men working in them than women. They will most probably have more perpetrators than victims within their workforce.
They are our colleagues and our customers
It is easier to think of perpetrators as being somewhere over there where we do not have to deal with them but the truth is they are the people we know in our working life. To ignore this fact is to ignore an important chance to not only have a positive impact on the statistics on domestic violence but also to create a more harmonious workplace.
When I talk about my ex-partner being a perpetrator of abuse and controlling my life I am talking about his behaviour at home, he was controlling, psychologically abusive and for a long time in our relationship, he did this covertly.
They don’t become someone else at work
Abusers do not leave these behaviours at home and suddenly become a nice people with a conscience when they arrive at work. They bring these behaviours with them, creating toxic working environments. Anyone who has worked with or for a bully will know this.
Covert abuse is confusing and undermining
Working for someone who bullies covertly is confusing and undermining. The effects of ripple through an organisation and pollute it. We can spend our energy simply getting rid of the bullies from our own backyard, but does this solve the problem.
As one leaves another one joins
Other companies are doing the same and their perpetrators are job hunting at your company. We need to acknowledge and accept there is a problem and it is nearer than we want to believe. It is hard to think of abusers being our employees and co-workers, but this does not change the fact they are.
The issue many companies are having is despite having domestic violence policies in place very few people are disclosing, there are various reasons for that but not feeling safe in their workplace cannot be overlooked.
Creating cultural change
If we are going to make a positive impact and creating a cultural change we must be willing to look at the issue of domestic violence from all angles and we may see workplace bullying is indeed closely related. It is not easy but the rewards will be worth it.