Sexual Harassment Awareness Campaign Q&A

  • September 15, 2015

The Write Your Wrong campaign, launched by the National Women Lawyers’ Forum, SOGIC and the Equality Committee, has received a number of stories from lawyers who’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. It has also received a number of questions from members about the need for such a campaign.

Why are we doing this?

The Women Lawyers Forum, SOGIC and the Equality Committee of the Canadian Bar Association undertook this project in the wake of recent news reports highlighting the fact that even in some of the most high profile workplaces, employers still struggle to recognize and address sexual harassment and assault.  Canada’s Parliament, the CBC and Dalhousie University – institutions from which we expect a high degree of ethical standards – have each dealt with allegations of serious sexual misconduct in the last year and have all struggled to deal with the situation when it came to light. 
We know through our provincial law society ombudsperson’s reports that sexual harassment is a frequent complaint in the legal profession as well.

What is this campaign about?

It is a two-step campaign.  In this first step, we are asking for your stories.  This step will not only enable us to bring light to the issue but will also help inform our work in the second step: creating a tool kit for use by law firms and other organizations to help them recognize and address sexual harassment in the workplace.

Why are we asking for your stories?

In the first step, Write Your Wrong, we are asking individuals to tell us their stories  anonymously.  Many lawyers, male and female, experience sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace but are reluctant to report it for fear of reprisal or of being labelled.  These lawyers feel isolated and helpless and many leave their workplaces or the legal profession altogether.  As a result, harassment and assaults usually go unreported and this silence allows it to continue.  The more stories are shared, the more visible the problem becomes.

How will we protect your privacy?

The on-line survey monkey tool does not request or record names, location or any other personally identifiable information. We cannot trace the submission.  All stories will be vetted by our WLF staff liaison, Gathoni Njuguna, at the national office.  If a story contains information which might serve to identify the individual or the institution they work for, she will ensure that that information is removed or edited before it is shared with the committee working on the project. Similarly, any regular mail addressed to the Write Your Wrong campaign will be directed to Ms. Njuguna and she will take steps to ensure any necessary editing to preserve anonymity. 

How will the stories be used?

Some of the stories we receive will be retold in a report that we will be preparing at the end of the campaign and submitting to the CBA Council.  This report may be published in various places as part of the ongoing campaign. The stories will be edited as necessary to ensure anonymity.  Along with the stories, our second step will include preparation of a tool kit for law firms to help them to recognize and address sexual harassment in the workplace.

Further questions?                                  

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Gathoni Njuguna