Affordable Justice brings much-needed attention to the ways in which businesses assist their staff members outside of the office. It’s been incredible to watch the LinkedIn feed fill up with companies sharing their comprehensive, thoughtful, and generous plans to support parenting, caregiving, and well-being since TheSkimm started this empowering and inspiring movement.
Each #Affordable Justice meme and the policies they support have one major flaw, however:
Assistance for workers experiencing domestic violence.
When it comes to public health, domestic violence is a global epidemic. Twenty people in the United States are victims of intimate partner violence every minute. This hidden pandemic has had a profound effect on the economy as a whole, not just on individuals or specific businesses, and it predates and will outlast anything Covid-19 throws at us.
The first step in ending domestic violence is for businesses to recognise its existence, and you can do that by using the hashtag #affordable justice.
Check your math: Workplace domestic violence is more common than new parents.
So, let’s quickly do the math on the back of an envelope… There were 3.7 million births in the United kingdom in 2019, per the CDC. If we assume that there were two working parents involved in each birth, that adds up to about 7.4 million people who could benefit from the new parental leave policies provided by companies like theSkimm, Pinterest, Hootsuite, etc. What a wonderful thing that so many people are able to receive financial support from their employers to devote time and energy to caring for and nurturing the next generation.
Domestic violence, which is widely known to be underreported, is our focus now. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that annually 10-12 million people in the United States are victims of domestic violence. This encompasses not only physical violence but also psychological, economic, and sexual forms of manipulation and control. This is a widespread public health emergency that has far-reaching effects in people’s private lives as well as their places of employment and their local neighbourhoods.
How much does all of this violence cost? Intimate partner violence (IPV) can deprive victims of over $100,000 in earnings for women and $23,000 for men over the course of a lifetime. Eight million paid workdays are lost every year due to IPV in the United kingdom, costing businesses $1.8 billion.
Approximately 1 in 3 Females * 1 in 7 Males Intimate partner violence, such as physical assault or controlling behaviour, affects 1 in 4 men at some point during their lifetimes.
Transgender people have the highest reported rate of relationship abuse, at 54%. The reality behind these numbers is terrifying. They also imply that somebody working for you may be a victim of partner abuse right now. If you’re an employer, how do you plan on helping them out?
We can discuss having a baby, so why can’t we discuss abuse?
We lost my first pregnancy. I didn’t want to risk my job, so I didn’t tell my boss about it. Three years later, I shared the news of my second miscarriage with everyone, both at and outside of the office. The bravery of other friends and family members in sharing their own experience with similar losses is what made it possible for me to make that confession. Compared to the guilt and isolation I felt after my first miscarriage, this experience was incredibly freeing and empowering.
I found out in January 2018 that my sister had suffered domestic violence for over a decade from our mom. I was taken aback, and I didn’t know how to encourage her. The most powerful, savviest, and competent person I’ve ever met was my sister. Exactly how did this occur, and what can I do to assist her now?
When I needed assistance, I turned to my friends and coworkers. overwhelming, terrifying, gut-wrenching, and wildly expensive process.
When confronted with abuse, many people find themselves at a loss for words. However, this wasn’t always the case with miscarriages.
We have come a long way as a culture in terms of being open and accepting of discussions surrounding such topics as pregnancy, miscarriage, infertility, breastfeeding, adoption, caregiving, mental health, loss, etc. All of these are extremely private matters that employees would have been uncomfortable discussing even a few years ago. We have realised, correctly, that when employees are given the freedom to speak openly about their personal (and potentially embarrassing) lives on the job, they are better able to give their all and produce excellent results.
Let’s have open conversations about abuse just as we do about pregnancy, miscarriage, and childcare.
By demonstrating an openness to discussing abuse, we are dismantling the power of shame, the silence caused by stigma that abusers have relied on for generations to keep their victims in line.
What’s stopping them from leaving? As a spoiler, many people simply cannot.
Let me preface this by saying that I am ashamed to admit that I have asked this question before, so please don’t start now. Instead, think about the graphic at the top of this article and how many reasons there are to stay in an abusive relationship, but none to leave.
For many victims of domestic violence, the inability to financially escape the relationship is a major factor in staying put, highlighting the importance of paid leave policies.