The month is over but the issue is not, the purple ribbon campaign cannot be just forgotten after the month is over. If you have noticed, we are still talking a whole lot about domestic violence and bullying on our blog and FB page. Today’s post is about domestic violence and your workplace, an important insight into how you could possibly help a co-worker dealing with domestic violence.
On a return visit to conduct an organization’s annual domestic violence prevention training, two male participants proudly told me the story of how they stepped up one day to talk with a fellow co-worker about their concerns for her safety.
For several months, the men noticed she sometimes wore her make-up very heavy. You know, heavy enough to hopefully cover bruises. Armed with information learned in last year’s domestic violence prevention class, the men approached her with just the right amount of tact and with sincere concern; she trusted them and soon talked about her heavy make-up. They took her to the first available resource person. Her healing process had begun.
Of course we will never know how far the violence might have escalated in this co-worker’s home. What we know is because her co-workers knew the signs of domestic violence, she was able to again be safe.
We also know that one in four women will be victims of domestic violence in her life time and if the violence continues, an abuser is likely to want power and control over a victim all times of the day and night– even while she is at work. A recent survey said 21% of full time employees are victims of domestic violence. Of that 21%, 74% said they have been harassed at work.
Visualize this: Picture a workforce of 50 employees. Approximately 11 of the employees will experience domestic violence and 3 employees in that group will be harassed at work.
With these staggering numbers, every employee who understands domestic violence and knows signs of domestic abuse specific to the workplace may be able to help a co-worker or even save a life. So, here are some of the signs:
Signs that an employee or co-worker may be experiencing domestic violence:
Wears long sleeves when it is hot, sunglasses inside and heavy make-up
Has unexplained injuries or gives non-believable reasons for injuries
Is easily startled
Arrives early or late to work
Appears fatigued much of the time
Shows fear, anxiety or depression
Decrease in productivity
Receives frequent personal phone calls, text messages or emails
Frequently borrows money for lunch
Makes excuses for not participating in after work events with co-workers
Signs that an employee or co-worker may be a domestic violence abuser:
Makes statements that show extreme jealously of partner
Doesn’t cope well with stress; constantly complains
May talk about being rough with partner
Has poor self-image
Consistently blames others; it’s never their responsibility
Makes frequent personal phone calls, text messages or emails
History of unemployment
Speaks about being cruel to animals
Alcohol and/or drug abuse
One of these signs may not be an indicator, but multiple signs are a stronger indicator of abuse. Each situation is different, but all situations should be approached carefully. An excellent resource for questions and concerns about domestic violence is the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233.
Toni Bowie, the founder of MaxLife, LLC, trains and coaches company leaders and employees to prevent and manage domestic violence and sexual harassment and to embrace diversity and inclusion. Contact Toni at toni@MaxLifeLLC.com