Thu | Feb 9, 2023

Flow urges businesses to rally against gender-based violence

Published:Thursday | December 8, 2022 | 12:34 AM
Panelists in the Gender-Based Violence Webinar for business persons (from left): Phadra Saunders, director business partner, Flow; Dr Craig McNally, licensed counselling psychologist; Nardia McLaren, director and community liaison coordinator, Bureau of Ge
Panelists in the Gender-Based Violence Webinar for business persons (from left): Phadra Saunders, director business partner, Flow; Dr Craig McNally, licensed counselling psychologist; Nardia McLaren, director and community liaison coordinator, Bureau of Gender Affairs; and Stephanie Graham, strategic project manager, Flow.

Leading communications and entertainment company, Flow Jamaica, has continued efforts to stop gender-based violence (GBV), as it urged other businesses to join the pushback against such behaviours, which negatively impact a vast number of persons in societies across the globe, especially women.

The company’s challenge comes against the background of hurt, physically and mentally, that many are experiencing but afraid to speak of, as it encouraged broad conversations around the subject under the tag line: ‘Breaking The Silence – Taking Action’, during its Gender-Based Violence Awareness webinar for the business community on November 23.

“Make a declaration to stand against violence, in all its forms,” declared Phadra Saunders, director, People Business Partner, Flow Jamaica. “Talk about love in organisations. That needs to be normalised. Giving space to national organisations to bring the discussions around the mental health impacts, do outreach, more work like this, to sensitise others.

“It will then become a movement and things will begin to change. But the conscious awareness is very critical,” she affirmed while pointing to Flow’s own policy which was launched a year ago, to address gender-based violence. That policy offers relocation, paid time off, legal aid and other support, where necessary, to employees impacted by GBV.

Dr Craig McNally, a licensed associate counselling psychologist, who has been practising psychotherapy for over 10 years, advised employers to “create a culture that says we care about our staff, our women. If you’re struggling with any of these issues, we’re aware that it happens and have put things in place to handle that.

“So the discussion wouldn’t be strange, because a culture has been established,” he asserted. “A friend, close associate, might be better for persons to share their experience with. And some companies have professional support.”

A subsidiary of communications conglomerate Liberty Latin America (LLA), Flow Jamaica hosted the webinar to coincide with activities to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was observed globally on Friday, November 25.

As part of its commitment statement, LLA said: “LLA stands against violence in all its forms. We recognise GBV is widespread in the region we operate. We pledge to do everything in our power to educate, prevent, protect and support against GBV in our companies and communities.”

Saunders further stated, “We know that violence against women is a major public and clinical health problem and it’s a violation against women’s rights.”

Pointing to post-pandemic studies, Saunders related that 45 per cent of women reported that they or a woman who they know has experienced violence; while seven out of 10 women say they think verbal abuse by a partner, including by marriage, has become more common.

“In our organisation, nearly half of our staff are women. We’re a microcosm of society and so we’ve put provisions in place. We train our supervisors to understand some of the signs and we do not always deal with such matters internally, we outsource,” she added, referring to the extended support system of professionals and agencies with field professionals.

“While these processes are taking place, there’s counselling as well because we recognise there’s a mental aspect involved. And it’s the same for men,” she said.