FEBRUARY 24, 2020
Dear Fellow Employers,
I have had the absolute privilege of serving as Ntarupt’s CEO since 2014. Together, my staff and I have made a real difference in the lives of Dallas students.
Supervising a staff that contains several young women has its challenges. STOP – I know what you are thinking, and it’s not an internal conflict. I have had to intervene in a formal fashion at least three times over these years to ensure my staff members were safe from people who were asserting themselves in explicitly unwanted times and spaces, including our workplace. It staggers me, frankly, the number of people who have failed to comply with the explicitly stated lack of consent by staff members who actually teaches about the importance of consent and asserting boundaries in the reproductive health education they conduct.
During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, I urge everyone to clearly express consent and boundaries and get help when they feel endangered. A good resource is loveisrespect.org, a 24/7 hotline that you can also reach via phone at 1-866-331-9474.
As employers, we have to reinforce the rules of consent and not ignore these incidents. Here are some steps you can take:
- Notify security in your workplace
- Make every effort not to judge a report of stalking or harassment, and let them know it will be kept confidential unless disclosure is needed to provide protection
- Point them to resources and assist them in making a formal complaint
- Discuss internet safety and make sure you protect employee privacy
- Alert other employees on a need to know basis
- Develop a personal safety plan with the employee and staff that can include things like walking to and from cars and unlisting employee contact information
- Providing contact information for hotlines
I personally have had to call other peoples’ supervisors to report inappropriate conduct; I have had to talk to security officers and police; I have had to escort employees in and out of work; I have consulted on filing charges; I have had to remove employees from our website; and offered to find them a safe place to stay; I have involved other employees to be watchful. While you may say my experience is anecdotal, to me it seems epidemic.
Why is our “no” something they can ignore? When someone tells you they don’t want to see you or not to contact them, it means you do not have consent to contact them in any way. Yet people feel entitled to call, text, create social media aliases to stay in contact with someone who is clearly not wanting to be contacted? Is it mental illness? I know it is unhealthy.
The more often we meet intrusions with clear messages that there is no consent here, the more messages will be received that “no” means “no”, and it’s not OK.
Terry Greenberg, CEO of the North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens (Ntarupt)