Sexual trauma is a major issue that often goes unnoticed in the workplace. Trauma can have far-reaching effects on men's lives, including their mental and emotional health, which can impact their job performance. It's important for employers to be aware of the signs of sexual trauma and how it can affect their employees.
The signs of sexual trauma can be subtle. Many men who have experienced sexual trauma may try to downplay the incident or pretend it never happened. They may also become withdrawn or seem distracted. Other common signs include:
· Anxiety or depression
· Difficulty concentrating
· Nightmares or flashbacks
· difficulty sleeping or insomnia
· irritability or anger outbursts
· Substance abuse or addiction
· Difficulty having healthy boundaries
· Unhealthy comparison
· Body image issues
· The need to overcommit and overextend themselves to appease management
· Difficulty maintaining personal relationships
These symptoms can impact every aspect of a man's life, including his work performance. Men who have experienced sexual trauma may have trouble meeting deadlines, struggle to complete tasks, or make more mistakes than usual. They may also find it difficult to concentrate or focus on their work. In severe cases, men may even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can make it impossible to function at work.
If you suspect that one of your employees is struggling with the effects of sexual trauma, there are some things you can do to help. First, create a safe and supportive environment where your employee feels comfortable and doesn't feel targeted. This can be prevented by creating a culture that values each person based on their humanity, not performance. As an organization, invest in professional development opportunities that will facilitate growth but also empower the male survivor with the tools and community needed to open up and discuss his lived experiences which may include his fear of failure. You should also provide resources and information that promote mental health and wellness and incentivize employees taking advantage of counseling and therapy options provided through insurance or organizational partnerships with local mental health professionals. This should also be taken into consideration when there is a need to address performance-based issues or disciplinary actions. Finally, be understanding and patient as your employee works through their trauma at their pace.
Sexual trauma is a serious issue with far-reaching effects. Employers should be aware of the signs of sexual trauma and how it can impact their employees' work performance. Employers can help their employees heal and thrive in the workplace by creating a supportive environment and providing resources.