Workplace violence is a growing problem in our society and involves more than straightforward physical violence. It includes any form of verbal abuse, bullying, threatening, *** pressure or coercion and deliberately causing fear in another person. It can also include putting employees in danger by not providing needed safety gear or not providing needed assistance. Women, in particular, are vulnerable to workplace violence but men are commonly victims as well. When people are dependent on their weekly earnings they can feel captive to their circumstances and as a result their physical and mental health, relationships and overall quality of life can be severely affected.
Some occupations are at greater risk of workplace violence than others. These include police officers, corrections officers, paramedics, teachers, social workers, security officers, and people regularly handling cash. Understanding that these positions can increase your risk of workplace violence can help you to protect yourself against potential violence. However, whether you are in one of these higher risk occupations or not, if you are already experiencing workplace violence there are some actions you can take to protect yourself.
Firstly, it is important to be clear about what is occurring in your workplace. Harassment, bullying and physical violence in the workplace can be perpetrated by managers, fellow employees, customers or clients and even a business partner. You may not be alone, so it is important to do a little bit of detective work to discover your company's history in this regard. For example, what happened to the employee you replaced? Is there a high turnover employees overall? A regular change of staff is an indication that there is something wrong.
Secondly, you need to keep a journal recording incidences of bullying, abuse or physical violence in your workplace. If you are physically hurt it is important to seek medical treatment so you set up a chain of evidence should you need to take future legal action. Make sure you talk to someone about what is going on, preferably more than one person. If the abuse is occurring from a fellow employee or a customer, go to your manager with your complaint and record his or her response in your journal. Once your manager knows, if there is no abatement in the abuse, you will need to seek an external remedy. Having said this, you may feel very unsafe doing so. Perhaps you are concerned that you are the one who will be fired and no one will believe that you were the victim. Once you go down the path of feeling disempowered, it can be difficult to regain your personal power.
In other words, workplace violence can totally destroy someone's self confidence and self esteem and have a profound long term affect on their life. It can lead to anxiety and depression and sometimes even suicide. Workplace violence has also resulted in the death of individuals in the workplace by accident or murder. It is such a serious problem with severe consequences to a person's life that it is vital to address it. The most important thing you have to realize is that not only do you have the right to resist this treatment you have the personal power to do so. You do have choice even if you feel that you don't. You have the power to say no. It is important to take back your personal power.
One way in which you can do this is to take self defense classes. Not only will you learn skills which will enable you to avoid physical harm, you will strengthen your mind and emotions to be able to stand against the bullies. You will grow in personal confidence so that even if you are the one who has to resign and find a better workplace, you will have confidence in your own ability to do so. You are worth more than enduring misery day after day. Remember that.
You may feel like a worn out wreck at the moment, but as soon as you start taking strong decisions you will feel more powerful. If you have to report physical violence to the police, do so. If you need help to protect yourself against *** or other harassment, do it. You're not the one in the wrong. Be proactive and let the bullies know that you are not an easy target. You are more powerful than you realize and bullies are fundamentally cowards. Workplace violence is totally unacceptable and it is also totally illegal. You can overcome it.
Bill Valentine is an experienced Self Defense Trainer who offers free tips on basic self defense at http://www.womens-self-defense-instruction-online.com as well as resources and information on how to protect yourself with non-lethal weapons or devices and how to improve your personal security.
The no cost Self defense Instruction for women online is not Karate Training, and you don't have to be a black belt to defend yourself. The goal is to help you develop a successful plan now, before something happens. . . or before something happens again!
Be safe and you won't be sorry. By Bill Valentine, Self Defense Coach