Domestic Violence is a Business Issue: Why Retailers Need to Understand How it Affects Your Workplace And What You Can Do About It
Because holidays are stressful, research shows that family gatherings and December parties contribute to a rise in domestic abuse. It’s important that all employers recognize that this is a BUSINESS ISSUE.
First the facts*:
- Domestic Violence is one of the most common of all crimes. One in every four women and one in 10 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (85% of these victims are women.)
- Battering is the single major cause of injury to women; more frequent than auto accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
*National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Basically, if you employ people or have customers who are people. . . well, you do the math. This problem affects your business. The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence result in a $1.8 billion loss in productivity for employers! Meanwhile, 21 percent of full-time employed adults said they were victims of domestic violence and 74 percent of that group said they’ve been harassed at work. As American businesses, we can no longer dismiss this issue as “family matters” or “issues best left to law enforcement.”
Domestic violence is all about the power and control over another person. What may start out as something that was first believed to be harmless (e.g., wanting the victim to spend all their time only with them because they “love them so much”) escalates into extreme control and abuse (e.g., threatening to kill a pet or hurt the victim if they confide the abuse to family, friends).
At GTM we are all about women’s empowerment. You can help your employees who may be experiencing domestic abuse by taking notice of “strange” behaviors such as regular excuses for injuries, constantly checking in with their partner, or skipping out on work or social outings for no clear reason.
If you suspect that an employee has been the victim of domestic violence, gently approach the employee and ask some questions:
- “I’ve noticed that you have been coming to work with bruises and I am concerned for your well being, who is hurting you?”
- “Is the person who hurt you a coworker?”
- “I need you to be honest with me so that I can protect not only you, but your coworkers as well, can you please share with me what measures we should take to protect you?”
Secondly, consider putting a policy in place for your store(s) about domestic violence. Policies should highlight the employer’s acknowledgement that domestic violence happens and may impact the workplace, and that as an employer you will do what you can to accommodate those experiencing it (without the threat of the victim losing their job).
If you’re a retailer who has chosen to offer your customers handbags that are designed for concealed weapon carry, we applaud you! We appreciate each and every retailer who is committed to the safety and empowerment of women. While we design our bags to be beautiful and fashionable, our handbags are inspired and designed with the ultimate goal of protecting and empowering every woman who carries one. That’s the main reason we exist: safety and empowerment for women.
The more that we can work together, acknowledging the silent epidemic and reaching out, the more women will be empowered to protect themselves.