The violence within
For the past 15 years, I’ve had multiple encounters with the systemic violence baked in our mainstream work culture: bullying, constant competition, harassment, mocking, productivism, racism, sexism, sticks and carrots, etc. You name it.
I’ve spent hours talking about these heart-breaking situations with friends, lawyers, psychologists and work inspectors. All have been witnessing a shitstorm that is destroying people from all horizons.
All companies indulge in it: big corporations, public services, NGOs, etc. It’s everywhere, even (especially!) in those over-hyped companies called startups.
Look around you for a moment. One out of three women is sexually harassed in the workplace 1. One out of two men is bullied by a supervisor 2. The person you’re looking at right now is likely molested as we speak.
I don’t know if you’ve been there (yet), but I have. And I refuse to feel guilty about it. I refuse to wear those traumas as a shame mark.
I fell prey to the lies our work culture tells us. And our work culture has seared its own culture of silence into our collective conscience. For a long time, I felt isolated. But no more.
Only sitting in a circle of women, listening to similar stories, allowed her to realize that she wasn't alone, it wasn't her fault, she could speak up. Gloria Steinem, My Life On The Road
No matter the gender you’re relating to, sitting and sharing similar stories with others can be the first step to saying “No!” to this violence. This is why I want people to speak up and talk to each other. This is why I talk about it so that people will take courage from it.
Silence is playing our violent working culture’s game. Silence is accepting your disappearance, literally and symbolically. Silence is dying.
Talking is bonding with others. Talking is organizing and exploring new paths. Talking is living.
You’re not alone. Help and kindness are sometimes found when most needed. Find your circle, listen, and maybe, talk.
Want to talk? Ping me on Twitter. Noticed something? Create an issue on GitHub.
Official studies assume that most harassment are not reported for fear of retributions. For official data (in French): https://www.egalite-femmes-hommes.gouv.fr/dossiers/egalite-professionnelle/lutte-contre-le-harcelement-sexuel-au-travail/les-chiffres-cles-du-harcelement-sexuel-au-travail/ ↩
See Canada’s official data: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-006-x/2018001/article/54982-eng.htm ↩