A 2012 Australian Human Rights Commission reported that 1 in five people reported being sexually harassed in the workplace in the past five years, so we know that sexual harassment in the workplace is an experience that many men and women endure, one which a collegiette was brave enough to share with us. To combat sexual harassment in the workplace, the Australian campaign Know Where The Line Is is working to raise awareness of sexual harassment and the line between conversation and harassment.
The public service campaign graphically displays everyday conversation starters, a line, and the segment of the comment that would turn the conversation into harassment. It specifically raises awareness of verbal sexual harassment, which is often not recognized as much as physical sexual harassment (i.e. pinching) is. The campaign also identifies three key steps to go through if the viewer is being harassed or if they see harassment in the workplace: See (be aware of the line between everyday interactions and those that are considered harassment), Talk (communicate with superiors, peers, or the harasser), and Support (be there for the person being harassed).
Know Where The Line Is serves to empower those who have been harassed in the workplace by defining what is and isn’t okay. According to a February 2015 survey by Cosmopolitan of women aged 18 to 34, 16 percent of women said they hadn’t been sexually harassed but did acknowledge they had observed and experienced sexually explicit or sexist remarks. 33 percent of the surveyed women reported being sexually harassed in the workplace, of which 71 percent didn’t report the incidents to superiors. Of those who reported being sexually harassed, 75 percent said the harassers were male coworkers.
By visually delineating the difference between what is and isn’t okay, Know Where The Line Is has the potential to lessen sexual harassment and empower victims and bystanders to speak up if they observe sexual harassment.