Finding my voice: Overcoming workplace bullying and harassment

“They comment on my body and I don’t want to hear it.”

Minea, like many women around the world, has experienced body shaming and sexual harassment in the workplace. However, with recent support and information provided by the Sexual Harassment Prevention Committee in her factory, she was empowered to speak up and take action. 

Minea has been working in one of the target factories for the Creating Safe and Respectful Workplaces in the Garment Industry Project for about a year. During her first few months of working there, Minea faced hurtful comments about her appearance from some of her colleagues, leaving her feeling uneasy and insecure about her body. 

“People would comment on my body, they would comment on my weight and say that my outfit doesn’t suit my body. Sometimes they would gossip about me.” Minea recalls. “I felt disheartened and it affected my concentration at work”. 

Despite buying a fashionable outfit for work she liked, Minea was hesitant to wear it to work because of her colleagues’ negative comments. That was until she was invited to join the training on sexual harassment prevention which Minea felt really empowered her to speak up. 

“My husband encourages me to dress how I want to, and I know I have right to dress how I want after I attended the training on sexual harassment.” Said Minea.

“I was able to confidently tell my colleagues that if they continued to use negative comments about my body, I would report the case to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Committee. They initially didn’t take it seriously, but after attending the training, they realized that such behavior is also considered as verbal sexual harassment and they stopped.” 

Minea was grateful for the confidentiality of the committee when reporting cases and was inspired by their support. “I feel that I can trust them if I ever need to report a case of sexual harassment. They take immediate action and keeps it confidential which makes me feel secure and safe. I now have the courage to stand up for myself and support my colleagues too,” she said. 

Through Sexual Harassment Prevention training, people like Minea are empowered to speak up and build a safer, more dignified workplace for all. As Minea says, “No one deserves to be bullied or made to feel uncomfortable at work. I am happy that I have found my voice and can speak up for myself and my colleagues.”