Voices

TimeTo film spotlights sexual harassment during the festive season

The release of the film from Lucky Generals makes up part of a campaign that encourages leaders to tackle sexual harassment and gives workers the courage to call it out

Georgie Moreton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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The festive season brings joy and excitement for many but for others Christmas parties come with dread as freeflowing drinks and sexual harassment sadly continue to go hand in hand. 

After Covid put a pause on *most* Christmas gatherings, this year sees the first proper post-Covid Christmas parties return. To help make these gatherings a safer space, enjoyable for all, timeTo a has relaunched its uncomfortable-to-watch Christmas film and shared advice with leaders to help tackle sexual harassment. 

It is vital that CEOs understand how to talk to and educate their staff about sexual harassment. People deserve to be safe and not leave a party feeling diminished, bullied, coerced or upset.

Helen Calcraft, Founding Partner, Lucky Generals

The hard-hitting film created with the help of Lucky General is set in the familiar scene of a work Christmas party.  The film is focused on a young male worker who sits next to a colleague who begins to be harassed by a different co-worker. For the duration of the film the camera remains on the first young man as he witnesses the interaction happening just off camera. Whilst the man clearly feels uncomfortable about what is happening, he does nothing. 

The harasser continues to coerce the clearly uninterested and increasingly distraught woman until she is pressured to go and dance with him. While the bystander gets more and more irritated throughout the film at each inappropriate interaction he fails to say anything. An uncomfortable but relatable watch that closes by asking audiences  ‘Where do you draw the line?’

“We’re encouraging witnesses to this unwanted behaviour to call it out - either in the moment or at a time afterwards when they feel comfortable to, and to point out to the harasser that their behaviour is inappropriate or offensive. We need to offer support for them to realise that bystanders are enormously important in helping prevent sexual harassment from being seen as acceptable behaviour – or being repeated.” says Kerry Glazer, Chair, timeTo.

Beyond raising awareness, timeTo also aims to provide practical advice to help senior leaders protect their staff and empower witnesses to speak out as follows:

  • CEOs need to set the tone. Don’t allow harassment to go unchecked on your watch. Leadership can send out an email the week before parties to all staff, clearly stating that they hope everyone has a wonderful time but at the same time restating that everyone deserves to feel safe and happy. 
  • The bystander issue is complex and multi-layered. Bystanders themselves can be deeply upset by the behaviour they witness, yet they feel disempowered or afraid to speak up for fear of reprisal.
  • Ensure you are creating a culture where people feel comfortable calling out or reporting this behaviour without fear, reprehension or worse, adversely affecting their careers.
    • Urge witnesses to find someone they trust and speak up - if in doubt, speak to NABS. Staff need to be left in no doubt that their CEO is on their side, and wants people to report inappropriate behaviour.
    • Help them to realise that bystander intervention is enormously important in helping prevent sexual harassment.
  • Have a written policy that you make transparently available to your staff. Staff need to know what to do and who to talk to, and the likely course of events following any reported incident. If you do not have a sexual harassment policy, you can find a template in the timeTo Endorser toolkit.
  • Encourage staff to support the person who is being harassed by acknowledging the inappropriate behaviour, offering their support to the person who has experienced it, and being prepared to report what they have seen.
  • Ensure you have a clear way of communicating to staff the ways in which they can report sexual harassment, by referring them to your agencies policy and HR. And If they don’t trust anyone in their organisation or if they are not sure what to do, we would urge them to call NABS for support and confidential advice.

Creating a safe space for all employees must be priority throughout the festive season and beyond. “But this can only happen if companies and senior teams set the tone for what is appropriate and inappropriate at Christmas gatherings.” says Helen Calcraft, Founding Partner, Lucky Generals, “It is vital that CEOs understand how to talk to and educate their staff about sexual harassment. People deserve to be safe and not leave a party feeling diminished, bullied, coerced or upset.”

 

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