Activist Dani Pereira sheds light on workplace harassment

·2-min read
(PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

By: Dani Pereira

2021. A year ago, the world was an entirely different place. We are emerging, blinking into the light as restrictions ease across Singapore, finally stretching our wings after months of working in our homes.

As we gradually return to our office environments, this will bring up uncomfortable memories for many of us. According to a study published by Aware this week, 40% of Singapore workers have experienced sexual harassment at work in the last five years. Two in five of the people sitting around you right now.

Only 30% of those survivors made an official report. This shows a clear need for better systems to be put in place on individual, societal and institutional levels. To build trust, support survivors, and bring light to the societal pressures placed upon them to stay quiet.

These shocking statistics are a galvanising call for all of us to sit up and pay attention. We should no longer consider sexual harassment, something that happens rarely. It is a very prevalent and real epidemic, right here in Singapore.

Knowing this, how can we make our society more supportive for survivors? We can start by making sure we are as equipped as possible to assist any survivor who may come to us for support. They could be our family member, our friend or our colleague. How we respond and support them can be pivotal to their journey of recovery.

We can become open, active and non-judgmental listeners. In our everyday lives, we can bring awareness to this issue and through using whatever platform we have, we can reduce the shame society levels at survivors. Shame and consequence should be levelled only at perpetrators and the institutions that support them - not at their targets.

In 2021, let’s build a society that calls for action and fights for justice.

Dani Pereira is a Singapore-based lawyer and a spokesperson for Aware. Follow her on Instagram.