Sexual Harassment Training Examples: 4 Main Types
Organizations have been involved in sexual harassment training for a long time. However, preventing sexual harassment in organizations has come to the forefront of media and other institutions after the upheaval of the #MeToo movement in 2017. So, sexual harassment training educates people on both acceptable and unacceptable behavior within a place. They are also equipped with the knowledge and tools required to recognize or correct behavior that may be inappropriate.
Goals of Sexual Harassment Training
Sexual harassment training aims at fulfilling the following goals:
- To increase the accuracy and awareness of recognizing sexual harassment.
- To educate individuals about the process of organizations for handling complaints.
- To sensitize individuals to the offensiveness and illegality of sexual harassment.
- To make them understand how damaging it may be to the people, including a particular place.
Is Sexual Harassment Training Effective?
Numerous researches have been conducted on sexual harassment training for decades. Most of them have deemed it as a useful complement to other measures for preventing sexual harassment. That mainly applies to educating and raising awareness among the individuals of an organization. The following points can make you understand the effectiveness of sexual harassment training better:
- Increase in Knowledge about Sexual Harassment
Often, individuals may not be certain what accounts for sexual harassment. So, training puts everyone on the same page about what constitutes harassment. It further gives individuals the knowledge and tools to address the same. This is important, especially in diverse environments where people often come from different cultures and backgrounds.
- Reduced Victim-blaming and Increased Reporting
There is maximum evidence that indicates that the number of complaints in organizations increases after sexual harassment training. That also suggests that the complainants are willing to come forward. However, one should not see the same as a sign that the training is not working. Instead, it helps to create a comfortable space for the alleged victims to speak up without the fear of being judged negatively.
- Mobilization of Bystanders
Most people think that the main aim of sexual harassment training is to decrease the behavior of perpetrators and increase the willingness of targets to report complaints. However, research also shows that sexual harassment training functions effectively through bystander effects. Such training can increase the intention of bystanders to intervene if they see any kind of offensive behavior happening around them.
- The Feeling of Safety Among Individuals
Sexual harassment training can have advantages beyond what one can think of. Offering such training also signals individuals that they can come to that particular place where no one is tolerant of harassment. Moreover, they can feel that everything is safe around them. That creates feelings of inclusivity among everyone, particularly women.
Examples of Sexual Harassment Training
Sexual harassment training may happen in all shapes and sizes. Most of the time, it can be experiential. Such training may include games, video, group discussions, lectures, etc. Apart from that, the time of training varies vastly by length. That may also involve multiple sessions within an organization. So, sexual harassment training is very diverse in its methods. That is why it is recommended not to categorize it uniformly.
As of now, the two most important places where sexual harassment training is conducted are workplaces and educational institutions. We will be taking examples of the same in terms of the training.
1. Sexual Harassment Training at the Workplace
Sexual harassment training at workplaces happens in two ways. They are explained below:
- Manager Workshops
In workshops of this sort, the trainers highlight the role a manager may play in handling and preventing issues that impact the employees including professional relationships. These sessions include a framework of inclusive and legal behaviors. The managers can use them to create an inclusive and safe culture in both their teams and organizations.
- Employee Workshops
The participants in employee workshops leave with a renewed sense of how to engage with all their colleagues within the organization. They also become aware of how their behavior can impact their individual careers and the teams. Such workshops help the employees build an understanding of similar issues. They also gain an insight into the reporting policies and processes in the organization. This further helps them contribute their ideas and thoughts on issues of such sort.
2. Sexual Harassment Training at Educational Institutions
Be it schools, colleges, or universities, sexual harassment training is extremely important in all these institutions. The main ones are explained below:
- Management Workshops
These workshops are meant for the teachers, lecturers, deans, and all other people of the higher level. These training sessions sensitize them on how to process any complaints of sexual harassment and take the necessary action as soon as possible. This further enables them to create a safe environment for the staff members, non-staff members, and the students.
- Student Workshops
Students should be aware of how to engage with their classmates and other people within the institution. Sexual harassment training enables them to understand how their behavior can impact others. They also gain knowledge about the kind of misconduct they should avoid preventing any backlash to their future careers. They can clear their doubts, ask questions, and even put forward ideas on how to prevent such offenses in such sessions.
How to Conduct Sexual Harassment Training Effectively?
Every organization should be at the forefront to conduct effective sexual harassment training sessions. The best ways to do so are discussed below:
- Be Extensive and Immersive
Effective sexual harassment training should take place in person. That should also involve group exercises or interactive experiences. That helps create a long-term impact on the participants. Examples of the same include watching a video online or reading policies.
- Recognition of Power Dynamics and Discrimination
It should be made clear during the training session that sexual harassment is used as a means for gender-based discrimination, and a way to enforce power hierarchies. It should also emphasize that not only women, but men may also be victims of the same.
- Receive Leadership Support
The management, no matter what the organization is, should always show support for sexual harassment training. They should signal that such workshops and trainers’ messages matter the most to them. That also gives a signal regarding the strict actions that will be taken if anyone is found guilty.
- Change in Power Dynamics
Sexual harassment mostly arises from exploiting power relationships. Promoting and hiring more women can help transform such dynamics in organizations. That, in turn, makes the hierarchy more balanced. Sexual harassment training is known to be more effective when there is a higher representation of women.
Organizations around the world face a moral, legal, and business imperative to prevent sexual harassment within the place. For that, sexual harassment training is considered the most appropriate tool to do so. Conducting such training sessions proves to be effective in educating the individuals and helps support the target victims. The good practices in the training programs make organizations and individuals aware of how they can strive to reduce the offense of sexual harassment within their vicinity.