The News and Observer recently posted an article discussing relationship violence in the work place. According to the News and Observer homicide is the number one cause of death for women in the workplace according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Sunday May 30th, Target cashier Guadalupe Rosas husband, Mervin Mims shot her to death before turning the gun on himself. This shooting occurred less than a month after a Duke University Health Care Systems clinic worker was killed by her boyfriend. The workplace is one of the only places where a victim can be easily tracked down by his or her abuser.
The most important defense against violence in the work place towards women is creating a work environment where employees feel safe disclosing their abusive relationship status and threats from their partners (Johnny Lee, director of Peace at Work). Lee studied more than five hundred domestic violence incidents at work places across the country. Most victims knew they were in danger but only twelve percent shared this information with their employers. Why? One reason is that many women stay silent because of fear of losing their jobs if they discuss their abusive relationships as well as shame or embarrassment from unfair societal stigmas about domestic violence and women in abusive relationships.
It is important for local businesses to address the safety needs of their workers and create a work environment that encourages real and open dialogue from workers to discuss their concerns of abuse and harassment. The Family Violence Prevention Center offers free workshops about work place and domestic violence prevention to local businesses. Contact Elizabeth Johnson at VCCoordinator (at) fvpcoc.org for more information or to set up a workshop.