- The launch of the timeTo campaign and its approach
The launch of timeTo’s latest campaign comes at a prescient time. The festive season is upon us, bringing with it a flurry of drinks, dinners and parties with clients and colleagues.
We at timeTo are not here to dampen people’s Christmas spirit. But the fact is that not everybody in our industry will be safe this Christmas.
Sadly, despite the fun, the party season also brings with the risk of sexual harassment as alcohol and late nights combine.
And that’s why we’ve created a new campaign for Christmas.
I’m particularly struck by the campaign film, which demonstrates sexual harassment through the lens of the bystander. In doing so, it asks us to consider what we’d do if we witnessed sexual harassment during the upcoming party season.
Just off-camera, a man coerces a colleague into drinking and dancing, ignoring her protests as he makes a string of inappropriate comments. It’s the increasingly uncomfortable face of the bystander that the camera focuses on as his colleague is pulled onto the dancefloor. It’s a stark watch and rightly so. Lucky Generals and film director Steve Reeves from Another Film Company have so accurately captured the fear, anger, and powerlessness caused by sexual harassment.
It’s common that people don’t feel able to speak up in these situations. The latest timeTo endorsers survey, published in October of this year, revealed that one in ten of those surveyed had been sexually harassed in the past year while working in our industry. Just over the same number of respondents have witnessed sexual harassment happening to others. This means that in total more than 40% of people we surveyed have either experienced or witnessed sexual harassment while at work. But only 20% of those witnesses officially reported what they had seen to management.
The truth is that the majority of those who experience or witness sexual harassment at work feel unable to report what they’ve seen. But we all need to be empowered to speak out without fear of repercussion. That’s why we’re aiming to change behaviour across the industry – because calling out sexual harassment will help to stamp it out.
Our campaign also reveals real-life examples of sexual harassment experienced by our industry colleagues over the party season, such as:
“It’s Christmas/don’t be a bore/one kiss won’t hurt.”
“Sit beside me/ it’s nice having you close/enough to touch under the table.”
To me, each statement brings home the real, threatening and insidious nature of sexual harassment during the party season.
There are some organisations in our industry who are encouragingly active in the fight against workplace sexual harassment. timeTo has more than 250 endorsers on board, with our endorser champions leading the way by communicating clearly to staff how they will support those who experience sexual harassment. Our recently launched endorser toolkit has equipped everyone who’s on board with resources to help embed timeTo’s Code of Conduct into their organisations and broadcast the message to staff at all levels about what is and isn’t acceptable and what to do if they see or experience sexual harassment, or are concerned they may have crossed the line.
Even if you’re not an endorser company (if you aren’t, please to get in touch with us to sign up), you have a responsibility to be vigilant this festive season. We all do. Nobody in our industry should suffer sexual harassment at Christmas or at any time in the year.
I hope that you’ll find the campaign to be as impactful as I do, and I wish you a safe and happy festive season.