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Do We Really Understand What Consent Is? – Guest blog by Clare Davis of Nova Associates

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Sexual Assault has been headlines in the news on too many occasions in the last few weeks. What worries me are the messages we are conveying to our loved ones and employees about consent? Are we communicating what sex is really about? It is about building a relationship with the person we love and then demonstrating our love for each other through the act of sex.

Too often rape and sexual assault starts at a very young age. This can then be thought to be acceptable as adults in the workplace. The headlines have shocked me lately as to what is being accepted in schools as ‘normal’ behaviour by peers. This was outlined in an article I quoted for on Sexual Assault in schools. Here is the link to read more.

Unfortunately, entitlement is also seen in the workplace. What can we do to make sure it is not a common behaviour in the people we employ? How can me make sure we are employing people with the same values as us, including morals? This is very difficult, and we need to go with our ‘gut’ when interviewing for our teams. So often, I have had a bad feeling about someone and realise this feeling has to do with their values and morals. It can be very difficult to get all the facts, including values and morals in an interview. If you have a feeling that someone won’t fit into your team, I suggest you go with that feeling and don’t say think not to because you don’t have any evidence.

The other thing we need to be aware of is if someone has been raped or sexually assaulted in the past, it takes a lifetime of healing and it could be triggered while they are working for you. This came out in my series on Sexual Assault on my YouTube and Podcast, Mental Health Chats. All my guests we assaulted at a very young age and outlined the pain they still felt as an adult. What are you doing in the workplace to support people of a trauma from childhood? These memories can be triggered by so many factors. A friend of mine who was raped when she was 15 spoke to me about a colleague, she found creepy. She said he kept making provocative comments and getting too close to her, making her feel uncomfortable. It got to a stage that she wouldn’t go into the tearoom when he was there, and dreaded being in meetings with him. She made a complaint to HR, and nothing was done. After she left the company, 3 other women contacted her and said they felt the same way but were worried about speaking out. (Look up Mental Health Chats on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and all the podcast platforms to listen to or watch the interviews)

We should be helping people in this situation. Memories of a traumas of assault from childhood can be surfaced at any time in our life. We don’t just ‘get over’ sexual assault or rape. In the interview on Mental Health Chats with Claire Bloor, the CEO of SARSAS (Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support), she outlines that we need to believe people when they come to us with accusations about rape and sexual assault. In believing, we are supporting.

What are you doing in your organisation to support those in these situations? How are you helping? Can you spot the signs? How confident do you feel when having the conversations?

In the month of June, Clare Davis, Director at Nova Associates is running open workshops online, covering a range of topics. For your ease of reference, she has included some more information below, or you can visit the website to find out more: https://www.novaassociates.co.uk/open-workshops

Spot the Signs of Mental Health Concerns

The workplace can be very demanding with pressures from all angles. To be able to support each other with mental health concerns we can spot the signs of different mental health concerns. We will look at spotting the signs of stress, depression, and anxiety. I will email all the attendees 2 weeks before the workshop to find out which other mental health concerns they would like to ‘spot the signs’ for so the workshop is specific to the need of their workplace.

Who should attend:

Team leaders, managers, and team members who work with people who may have mental health concerns and want to help them with positive mental health.

Dates and Times

1) Wednesday 9th June 2021 – 10am to 12noon

Book on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/143707640421

2) Wednesday 9th June 2021 – 2pm to 4pm

Book on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/143709654445

 Having Mental Health Conversations Confidently

People may feel uncomfortable when approaching conversations about mental health concerns, due to emotions and not wanting to hurt the person. The benefits of having the conversation outweigh the negatives. We look at how to overcome the fear and plan the conversation with confidence. We also address how to stay objective, start the conversation, and listen attentively. We may hold onto emotions after the conversation, so we will also address how to be objective and ‘let go of’ what has been discussed.

Who should attend:

Team leaders, managers, and team members who work with people who may have mental health concerns and want to help them with positive mental health.

Dates and Times

1) Wednesday 16th June 2021 – 9am to 1pm

Book on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/143710659451

2) Wednesday 16th June 2021 – 1.30pm to 5.30pm

Book on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/143713969351

Managing Stress and Wellbeing for Yourself and Your Team

Our lives have become chaotic with uncertainty. This workshop will help you understand what is causing you stress, develop compassion and empathy for others, use tactics to deal with stress ‘in the moment’, as well as bringing emotional fitness into your life to help prevent mental health concerns.

Who should attend:

Team leaders, managers, and team members who work with others who may be feeling overwhelmed and would benefit from supporting each other for positive mental health.

Dates and Times

1) Wednesday 23rd June 2021 – 10am to 12noon

Book on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/143702254311

2) Wednesday 23rd June 2021 – 2pm to 4pm

Book on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/143704882171

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