Tosti'sPosted by Karin Bosman Jan 05, 2016 19:22
Almost never will a
victim of sexual workplace harassment be groped or preyed upon from day one.
Although harassers have different characters, they all get their satisfactions
from the harassment. So some harassers enjoy the public humiliation of the victims,
others prefer this moment of power behind closed doors. People immediately have
their own opinion ready on how to react when they hear about sexual workplace
harassment. But we forget that victims and bystanders have been made
defenseless long before the actual assault.
A fragment out of Spitting on Hans’ tosti, this story gradually reveals how an apparently stray kiss leads to
“It’s a rainy day and not many people are present at the office. My life on
weekdays between 9.00 am and 5.30 pm has been properly disrupted. I
absent-mindedly clean up a couple of things in the kitchen. Completely wrapped
up in my own world, I don’t hear him coming. As I bend over slightly to take
some bread out of the freezer, I suddenly feel Sir’s hand. I know without a
doubt it’s his hand, who else’s would it be? It all goes so fast, yet it also
seems to take forever. He sticks his whole hand, al five fingers under my skirt
and I feel how he creeps up to the edge of my stockings. Fortunately I succeed
to wriggle myself loose but when I turn around, his fingers end up in my groin.
Just as I turn around, I see her standing there, but I can’t say whether she’s been
there for a while or whether she just walked in. Still completely disconnected
from myself, I desperately look at her, waiting for a response, but she quickly
lower her eyes. Sir pretends nothing’s wrong, but he is clearly gratified when
the employee doesn’t seem to respond to respond to his assault“.
can be your partner in creating an efficient company policy, employer
liability, employer obligations, and enforcement of the law, preventing sexual
workplace harassment, complaint procedure and training of all individuals in
the workplace. But all these subjects will only be successful when employers
and employees are combating together against sexual workplace harassment. Which
means that we all need to understand how to recognize the harasser, their
characters and also the victim’s behavior and what the effects are of a hostile
Because www.aboutworkplaceharassment.com wants to be an example, we dare to
be naked in our presentations. So what about you?
Tosti'sPosted by Karin Bosman Jan 05, 2016 19:16Make a statement against companies who choose to continue to work with or for offenders of ‘sexual’ workplace harassment.
Because filing a complaint of sexual workplace harassment feels like being crucified a lot of people keep their silence. Not only the victims but also the bystanders often feel viciously ashamed about the sexual harassment that is happing to their colleagues. A lot of the fear stems from ignorance; a lack of knowledge and trust.
Campaigns like #ibelieveyou and ‘Where do you draw the line’ are extremely important for victims and bystanders who have experienced sexual workplace harassment. But are we aware of this experience, do we know how to recognize it. Perhaps we see it on a daily bases but we can only identify the feeling and not the definition. Let's be honest, do you really know what sexual harassment contains or do you prefer to look away when you recognize that behavior. When you are too afraid to take a breath and think that you’ll be safe. But it’s the other way around because your silence creates a hostile work environment for everybody. Employers, employees, students, every human being should be informed and advised on how to handle sexual workplace harassment.
Recruiters like Indeed refuse to work with companies who have been charged guilty of sexual workplace harassment. Or how the Dutch government likes to describe it: ‘lack of duty of care’. I’m grateful that Indeed draw that line, not for me, but for recognition, protection and prevention.
When we are believed we help you to draw that line, yes Indeed.
Know how to handle sexual workplace harassment and contact us http://aboutworkplaceharassment.com/contact.html
Tosti'sPosted by Karin Bosman Dec 21, 2015 19:04
It was like a frozen hart just answered me when
I asked him if he could please look after the new colleague. The whole idea of
a new female colleague in the theatre made my stomach turn around and the
memories of Mister attracting victims into his stable make me sick.
started with a message of my former colleague ‘One Coffee Too Many’ on
LinkedIn. A post in which he states that the company is looking for close
contact, as in we look for new colleagues. I read his message: “Work in a close team with nice colleagues
like me ;)) and for top brands, we look for a new project manager. Apply now!”
The effect this messages has on me surprises me, gross, a close team? For me a
little too close with ‘Sir’ and ‘The Mrs.’ in the workplace. Nice colleagues?
Yeh sure, of whom most of them see how ‘Sir’ abuses his power, but don’t want
or dare to say. Afraid of losing their job, afraid to be the next victim, or
just because that’s the easiest way, to look the other way. The top brands, as ‘One
Coffee Too Many’ mentions in his message, left the theatre with the 3 witnesses
and me. The message with the vacancy makes me angry, because how is it possible
that after all that the colleagues have seen what I have been trough, they help
to recruit potential victims. And this while he is applying his ass off to get
out of the theatre, downright impudent. But it’s not just the
behavior, the fear and the self-centeredness of former colleagues that pisses
me off. I wanted to and had to go through so much to make sure ‘Sir’ couldn’t
destroy more people. But after everything and all the details I’ve shared with
lawyers, counselors, courts and the media, this man let’s ‘Sir’ carry out his
criminal acts. No personal punishment for ‘Sir’, but only a fine for the
company is how the Dutch government thinks to protect the workplace. Instead it
makes the offenders of sexual harassment and other workplace bastards feel
immune, it creates a hostile work environment where there’s space for
aggression, violence and harassment. It’s absurd but also reality.
“Could you please make sure he doesn’t do the
same to another female colleague.” ‘Mister Supine’ replies: “Yes, but it’s not that simple you know. I may assume that he has
learned his lesson!” What did you learn from it all ‘Mister Supine’. Did
you learn that much that you now will speak out when your employer ‘Sir’ says
to your colleague that she can easily ‘have’ the ink toner of the copier. Oh
no, you didn’t hear it correctly that day, you thought ‘Sir’ said, “he wanted to shove a marzipan Christmas log
inside of me”… Why is it after all
you’ve seen still not that simple? Why is it so hard to prevent another
colleague from tottering on the brink of a catastrophe? What
is the problem with ‘One Coffee Too Many’ to, as a Judas of the colleagues,
bring in new toys to satisfy his master. The sacrifices he has to make to keep
his job, the humiliating boredom, at Sir’s theater. It’s outrageous that ‘Sir’
gains his pleasure from the fact that he has ‘One Coffee Too Many’ doing
nothing for days, with the knowledge that ‘One Coffee Too Many’ will feel
useless, this abuse of power is what gives ‘Sir’ his ego boost.
her his victim, fortunately with his harassment, resistance instead of weakness
was born in the stable of the theater. She had to wait for the three kings of
the workplace (and a former colleague) to release her. ‘The Cross-eyed Angel’, ‘The Angel´ and `Ear
buds Man´. Colleagues who gave up their job with their testimony against ‘Sir’
and his sexual harassment.
The last 18
months I´ve gone into great depth on what sexual harassment in the workplace
exactly is, what it does with victims and bystanders. Why an offender needs the
workplace harassment. Looked for answers and solutions on how to define,
recognize and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. When a bystander
(colleague) dares to speak out, in 42% of the cases the sexual harassment in
the workplace will stop immediately. Just imagine how much grief can be
prevented when colleagues learn how they can report this crime in a careful and
solid way. And how many employers really know the procedures in case of a
complaint of undesirable behavior. Valuable information from studies and my
personal experience has been transformed into effective trainings and
workshops. Furthermore I want to ensure a safe workplace with my policy advice
towards employers and employees and of course the Smartphone app Workplace
of the offenders and perpetrators of sexual harassment in the workplace are
also a part of my training. Because what did ‘Sir’ actually learn from his
acts, absolutely nothing. ‘Sir’ received from the Court the confirmation of his
imaginary immunity. This is the immaculate conception of an offender of sexual
harassment, just because he’s the owner of the company.
For how employers
and employees can get aware of their responsibilities and possibilities whenever
there’s a case of sexual harassment, please visit www.aboutworkplaceharassment.com
you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy
and safe work environment for everyone in 2016.
Tosti'sPosted by Karin Bosman Oct 15, 2015 17:40
After the first lecture in Aruba about sexual harassment in
the workplace, for the Centre for Lifelong learning (CLL), I was not
only pleasantly surprised by the warm climate but meanly by the warm
welcome of the Aruban people I’ve spoken to about this subject. It was
easy to respond to the request of returning to Aruba and keep this
subject on the agenda. Of course I would return to help keep addressing
the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.
To follow up this promise I started to deepen in several
researches done the last years in the Netherlands and for example the
United States. This to a complete (merge) my personal experience with
the theory on how sexual harassment starts, cultural influences, habits,
influences of corporate cultures, etc. Understanding the origin of this
harassment makes it easier to fight against it. Next to creating
awareness I also wanted to share several learning’s so sexual harassment
in the workplace can be defined, recognized, prevented or tackled.
During the workshop ‘Keep sexual harassment out of the workplace’ which I
gave to AHRA (Aruba Human Resources Association) I shared my personal
experience in combination with other backgrounds, advices, burden of
proof, and rights/obligations of sexual harassment in the workplace. An
organization like AHRA is crucial for my project, these people can make
the amendments needed to create a safe work environment. Again, it’s
important for HR managers to know how to recognize sexual harassment so
they can control the damage. For both victims and companies.
Approaching sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of the
precautionary principle, as well as defining, recognizing and preventing
it. Tackling the problem in the workplace is not sufficient,
acknowledgement of the problem and the taboo by representatives of
several business organizations is also necessary.
The cooperation of all stakeholders during my second visit to
Aruba was impressive. Especially the affirmation of the Minister of
Social Affairs, Paul Croes, willing to be associated and informed is of
deciding importance for the success of my project here in Aruba. Many
organizations that I’ve spoken to in August / September, like trade
unions, educational institutions and organizations for the wellbeing of
the Aruban population, have indicated to cooperate with this project so
the subject sexual harassment in the workplace will stay to the
attention in Aruba.
To top it all, I was able to hand-over my book ‘Spitting on
Hans’ tosti’ to Prime Minister Mike Eman. Mainly the fact that he was
familiar with the story and thanked me for my dedication, made me feel
pleased. I ended my stay in Aruba with a short introduction of my
workshop ‘Keep sexual harassment out of the workplace’ and my book to
the students of the educational institution IPA. A brief learning about
sexual harassment in the workplace and how students can be confronted
with it during their traineeships. How they can help prevent sexual
harassment from happening by sharing this knowledge with their pupils.
To conclude underneath some impressions of my activities
during my visit to Aruba. Partly thanks to the cooperation of Minister
Paul Croes I’ll return quickly to proceed with my project so Aruba will
get a safe work environment, a work environment without violence,
aggression and (sexual) harassment.
Tosti'sPosted by Karin Bosman Oct 15, 2015 17:12
An article like ‘Severance payment for refusing power abuser’
in PW|DeGids of the 9th of July 2015 shows there are still many
ambiguities with regard to a complaint, henceforth be known as crime,
like sexual harassment in the workplace. Resulting in the fact that in
many cases the perpetrator easily gets away. Lawyers, judges, complaints
investigators and mediators get paid, while the victim in the end pays
Men and women have equal rights in The Netherlands, also in
the business community. Equal rights in a living wage, social and health
protection, education and the right of protection against sexual
harassment in the workplace. Companies have for instance an active duty
to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
However, including nice principles into a code of conduct
appears to be insufficient. It’s about the actual impact, business
operations need to be examined and measures have to be taken to counter
the risks of violating the policy against sexual harassment in the
workplace. When a victim internally reports the crime, he or she is in
many cases flooded with ‘misguided’ advice by (if present) the
counselor. It appears that the counselor often doesn’t possess the
knowledge of how to handle a crime like sexual harassment. This is
because of the lacking of policy against sexual harassment in an
Aftereffect of this all is that the ignorance of third
parties and the lack of protection will lead the victim like a lamb to
the slaughter for the termination of the employment. Employers,
directors and managers who are committing sexual harassment well know
how to manipulate (and prevent) the ‘independent’ investigation.
So the perpetrator, often the superior of the victim, is
protected in court by a disappointing verdict of the judge who despite
the evidence stumbles over a not correctly gone through process. The
victim is here for not to blame, but the judge does in a sense.
A victim of sexual harassment in the workplace often already
suffers for months or years from the perpetrators abuse of power. Being
numb, exhausted and emotionally destroyed it is very hard for the victim
to find the courage and energy to step forward. It’s downright impudent
that the job requirements of a counselor aren’t defined by Dutch law,
but meanwhile estimated as the first and crucial stage in the Health and
Safety Act, the Civil Code and also on a political level for preventing
sexual harassment in the workplace.
The ignorance of the assistance is the main enemy for the
victim of sexual harassment. While the bills are being paid for the
lawyers, judges or complaint investigator and a perpetrator receives his
reward by a redundancy payment or a return to his office, I ask myself
the question if the respect for the Dutch labor law is obvious.
Please note: do employers (like Sir and madam in Spitting on Hans’ tosti)
and employees (policymakers) know that in The Netherlands a counselor
needs to be appointed by means of an official contract? In which are
mentioned the usual provisions, but also the job requirements of a
Tosti'sPosted by Karin Bosman Oct 15, 2015 17:11
Bullying: boss around, push around, browbeat, teasing
When entering bullying into Google, you’ll find words like kids,
children, youngsters, school, etc. This shows that the word bullying is
often used in combination with youngsters’ behavior. There’s often a
lack of clarity about the meaning of bullying. The dividing line between
teasing and bullying is thin, where does teasing ends and bullying
starts. The clearest difference between teasing and bullying is the
balance of power. The person who bullies places itself above the victim;
with teasing the power is in balance, it goes back and forth. So
teasing apparently belongs to bullying when looking up the definition,
is there a thin line or does teasing ends up into bullying?
Hans the bully
He is certainly not big or sturdy to see, yet everyone is afraid of him.
Every day when he enters the playground, the children stop playing
marbles to rapidly put their marbles into their pockets. The ones who’re
not quick enough will lose their marbles. Hans always knows something
nasty to say, which makes you pick up your marbles and hand them over to
Hans. To make sure you’re not in the spectacle, the children walk away
with bowed heads, quickly into the school. Hans has taken away your
marbles and you’re on your own.
It’s true, the Hans that takes away marbles from the children every
day on the playground is a bully. But is Hans also a bully when it
concerns an adult man with his own company, who sexually harasses an
employee on a daily basis for two years. ‘Hans the bully’ intuitively
doesn’t match with a perpetrator who harasses employees and in my case
even assaults me at the workplace. Of course the word bullying is also
suitable for what Hans has does: pushing around, nagging. Nevertheless I
can’t remove the image out of my head of children having to handover
their marbles to Hans when I hear the word bullying.
Harassment: scare, deter, aggressive action, discouraging, threats, kind of abuse, intimidation
Actually Google confirms my feeling with the word bullying. The word
harassment namely gives a different result. By looking up the word
harassment you find suggestions like business, labor union, employee,
colleagues, etc. Harassment is influencing someone’s behavior by
terrifying him or her by threatening with the consequences. By using the
words workplace harassment, victims of sexual harassment are easier
included than when using bullying at the workplace. By using the word
bullying it is much more difficult to create awareness. People associate
bullying with the playground and youngsters behavior. “Being bullied at
the office?” it’s often laughed off and seen as an immature word,
bullying happens on the playground. But what happened at the workplace
when we are ‘mature’.
Hans, the harassment-jerk
He is certainly not big or sturdy to see; yet everyone is terrified of
him. Every day in the morning when he enters the building, the
atmosphere involves and she’d like to hide behind her desk. If she
doesn’t elude quick enough, Hans will find her. For Hans she’s his prey
and he loves to start the day with belittling her, unwanted touching or
snapping at her. She doesn’t dare to pick up her cell phone, afraid of
another messages in which Hans trusts himself upon her. The constant
threats of Hans that if she talks about his behavior, his wife will
leave him and this also includes his parents-in-law’s investment in the
company. This means the company can no longer exist and, “that’ll be
your fault” says Hans. “Because of you people will lose their job and
they’ll blame you for that.” Hans has isolated her and taken away
everything from her: self-esteem, respect, confidence, fun, etc. The
colleagues look the other way when Hans touches her or snaps indecent
proposals to her. Hans is the owner of the company, the owner of the
decision who has a job and who will be left alone. She is on her own.
Hans terrifies, discourages victims and spectators to act against his
behavior en threatens to sack the ones who dear to resist. The words
that represent harassment matches with Hans the director, the mature man
that nags, frightens and this can be seen as an abuse. If I would hear
at the above, “Hans has bullied her at the workplace”, this would give
me a different feeling than “Hans has harassed her at the workplace”.
Bullying or harassment
It is a certain feeling, my feeling, a perception and certainly not a
judgment about the events that take place at the playground or at the
office. It’s terrible when someone makes your life miserable, whether
this is at the playground, the workplace or someplace else. Never can
this behavior be justified. Hans has to be stopped both at the
playground and the workplace. Victims ask for understanding, awareness
so everybody understands what the effect is of what Hans the bully or
Hans the harassment jerk does.
Bullying and harassment
I see bullying as the younger brother or sister of harassment. Adults
are being harassed at the workplace and youngsters are being bullied at
school, but it’s either way criminal behavior and people that bully or
harass are perpetrators of psychological terror. This behavior should be
penalized in the Dutch criminal law.
Tosti'sPosted by Karin Bosman Oct 15, 2015 15:02
What happened in the year after the trial
Back in time
It has been one year, ok one year and three days to be
precise, that I heard from the Lawyer on the 24th of March 2014 that
we’d won the lawsuit against Sir and so my contract would be ended at
the 1st of April 2014.
The judge describes in the verdict that the smoke screen, which Sir
tried to erect, didn’t succeed. These facts mentioned didn’t have
anything to do with his acts of harassment. Nevertheless, non-verbal and
verbal sexual harassment can’t be punished as a crime in the
Netherlands since it isn’t included in the criminal law. The raised
finger of the judge in the warning towards Sir and the financial penalty
concerning the refusal of having my complaint of sexual harassment
investigated is the only recognition I received despite the enormous
amount of evidence provided. Evidence, such as text messages, emails and
a whopping four witness statements.
What happened afterwards
How do you pick up the thread after being sexual harassed for over two
years by your employer and the verdict doesn’t give you sufficient
recognition. Who shows you how to handle questions and remarks filled
with incomprehension. Suddenly everybody seems to know what you should
do. The conversations are often about how I should have reacted, but
rarely about the fact that the perpetrator should never had been allowed
to do this.
This is one of the reasons why I started this blog. If you want to
understand victims of sexual harassment, it is important to show the
complete process of sexual harassment so the perpetrators of this power
crime in the workplace are revealed. Sexual harassment is surely not
about sex, but about power and control. The blog was for me the way to
explain to people in my surroundings how this could have happened to me,
a woman who worked in the advertisement business for over twenty years.
So it can happen to anyone, also powerful and lively people in the
strength of their lifes. Spitting on Hans’ tosti was read more
often and it was frequently shared, that’s why I received a lot of
feedback from people I didn’t know, who recognized themselves in my
story and the process of harassment. Men and women who were glad
somebody called attention to the process, but also to the traumatic
experience which sexual harassment in the workplace is. These people
shared their personal experience with me, some say it’s naive, but I was
pretty shocked after reading these messages. Are there so many people
who are being bullied away from the office without someone interfering,
do we live in a country that is being managed by an ostrich policy. I
From blog to book
In the messages I received from fellow sufferers I was mainly asked to
keep sharing my experience. Informing helps to make the taboo on
(sexual) harassment in the workplace negotiable and to give victims the
strength needed to break the downward spiral. Because informing is also a
form of prevention. But how do I reach as many people as possible, by
transforming the blog into a book? Meanwhile a publisher had approached
me because of my blog. About six months after the trial I cut myself off
from the rest of the world to relive my trauma to be able to rewrite
the blog into twenty-seven tosti-chapters. On the 18th of
September 2014 I receive the first copy of ‘Spugen op de tosti van
Hans’, now I can hold more than two years of suffering in one hand.
Contact with the media
The Dutch media also noticed the blog and a talk show on national
television wanted to have the scoop of my book. To my surprise the
producers of this talk show suddenly cancelled the agreement because the
publisher and the verdict weren’t spectacular enough for the show.
Being completely flabbergasted, a feeling of panic liberated inside of
me, again I was confronted with injustice, no recognition, but only the
confirmation that in our society being destroyed in the workplace is
unimportant. Overwhelmed by emotions and still wobbly of rewriting and
reliving the blog, I tried to convince the producers with this point of
view, but it was too late.
With the book being the occasion, I contacted several national
newspapers and magazines. And it makes me happy when journalists, TV and
radio programs do want to give sexual harassment in the workplace a
face. I’ve written an endless amount of emails, also to the national TV
station that realized that harassing employees in the workplace is a
growing problem. It doesn’t concern an individual problem here, but
something that concerns all of us. How save is the workplace for real?
Together with the TV host Sander de Kramer I tell my story on the 16th of January 2015 in the documentary de Wandeling
(The Stroll), it is a stroll that means a lot to me and on which I’ve
received many valuable response. Unfortunately I can’t keep in touch
with everybody, but we now know and realize even better that we’re not
alone. During de Wandeling
it came up that on Sir’s website the company Victim Support is in the
portfolio. It is difficult to believe this is really happening. De Wandeling was broadcasted on the 2nd of February 2015.
The book serves its purpose and many people, also rescuers, use my book
as an instruction manual to help understand the process and the cast
with (sexual) intimidation in the workplace. My book settles with the
imposed shame and disgrace, it inspires people to share their stories
with others. Bringing out sexual harassment, in which I was trapped,
gave me the strength to convert the blog and book into the workshop /
lecture: Sexual harassment in the workplace. The fact that I broke the
taboo and the dangerous isolation in which the victims stay, brought me
to this lecture I gave at the University of Aruba on the 17th
of January 2015. Also in Aruba, sharing my story of sexual harassment
in the workplace, inspired many women and rescuers to share their
personal stories. Back in Holland I was invited by the Female Labor
Union to give my lecture on the International Women’s Day in Amsterdam.
It feels good when you can bend a traumatic experience to positive
energy, which is used to reach people and to make a difference. A
difference, which makes it easier for victims and bystanders to bend a
situation like sexual harassment, or inspire to look for help. A
difference, which makes it harder for harassers to cowardly assert their
use of power.
Suddenly a whole year has gone by and you look back, every emotion I’ve
experienced over the last three years is still reachable. I know that
and I acknowledge the emotion. Incomprehension, anger, pain, sadness and
loneliness still have the exclusive in my heart.
At the moment that I look at Sir’s website a year later, and indeed
notice that Victim Support is in the portfolio of his company, this
creates room for the vileness. Sir continues his vicious acts without
embarrassment and with appropriate hypocrisy. He is actually allowed to
do this, since there’s no legal pillory for sexual harassers, a judge
can’t punish him and his inviolability is encouraged.
No pillory is no transparency, so a company like Victim Support is not
informed whit whom they’re in business. Sir calls this on his website
something like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Pillory or not,
Sir keeps away from Earbuds man (one of my witnesses during the trial)
during a Salesforce seminar in Amsterdam on the 26th of March.
‘Why look back at last year’, ‘be superior to it’ or ‘just let it go’
are the responses to be expected on this blog. Understandable reactions
that are based on concern of people who care for me. But it is good to
look back and to be able to see that many good things happened last
year. For example the lecture at the University of Aruba was of great
value. An experience that made me, with cause, feel and to be a strong
woman again. Knowing that with this knowledge and experience I’m able to
help people; not only victims, but also students / (future) employees
and companies itself, how to deal with a situation like sexual
harassment in the workplace. And even better, how we prevent it from
Cherishing the overgrowing negative emotions won’t help you forward,
acknowledging and identifying them will. For reassurance, I can never be
the ostrich (tosti-mole) who buries what he/she has seen and heard.
I let it all go by sharing, I’m superior to it without
falling. Looking back at last year has given a piece of her, Karin
Bosman, back to me.
I say, happy New Year.