Principal consultant D B Research, Unri Babb.

Monitor online content

Researcher concerned about level of inappropriateness

GIVING some startling insight into a recently conducted survey on online abuse and harassment, a local researcher believes inappropriate behaviour on social media by adults and even teenagers will eventually find its way into the workplace.

The word of caution comes from principal consultant of D B Research, Unri Babb, who was participating in the annual Queen’s College Association’s Elsie Payne Memorial Lecture, which took the form of a panel discussion on Wednesday night. The discussion was held under the theme “Let’s Talk about Sex – the Employment Sexual Harassment Prevention Act 2017”.

Babb, explained that the study was recently completed with a local charity called No to Online Abuse and Harassment outlined two of the findings. “More than 65 per cent of persons in Barbados have stated that they have received either nude videos or photos from persons who they know it has been shared without their consent. Six out of ten persons... That is a criminal offence,” he told the audience.

Additionally he said, “40 per cent of the persons shared nude video of persons who they knew didn’t give consent for that to be shared.”
“So we are existing in an era where it is clear that persons are engaging in a lot more of inappropriate sexual behaviour and it cannot exist outside of the workplace only. And it creates a whole new dimension that the legislation does not cater for effectively,” he lamented.

The researcher also issued a word of caution to parents of teenagers, urging them to monitor their children’s social media accounts.

“You would see a level of inappropriateness on all of teenage social media. Because the level of interaction that exists, nobody says this is not correct, or you should not respond to me in that way,” he pointed out.

The researcher while expressing concern about the legislation, stated it exists from a place where there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence, but not enough statistical evidence. “This is put in place as a stop-gap measure to say ‘we have it,’” he said, noting that it falls in line with the Life in Leggings and Me Too Movement.

Babb also believes that outside of the breach of confidentiality clause included in the legislation, there is still a culture of information being shared through the “grapevine”, which should be stopped. He noted that the accused if found to be not guilty would still have their reputation tarnished.

Also participating in the discussion was Deputy Chief Labour Officer, Claudette Hope-Greenidge, who while highlighting the importance of the gender neutral legislation said sexual harassment is not currently a huge problem in Barbados. She stressed however that in every workplace there should be a written policy in place setting out exactly how sexual harassment is to be dealt with, reported and treated, if it occurs in the workplace.

“Those things were supposed to be in place since June 14, so right now an employer who does not have that in place is in breach of the legislation,” she reminded.

Also participating in the discussion were Senior Manager Human Resources Sagicor Life Inc., Calvin Husbands and Attorney-at-Law, Tammy Bryan. Activities for QCA Week continue today with “I Love QC” Day and T20 Night Cricket at Briar Hall Grounds at 7 p.m. tonight. (JH)

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