On Friday, Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice and ATLAS concluded the #WhyIDidntReport Twitter campaign, which highlighted chronic underreporting of workplace misconduct at international justice institutions. The campaign has shed light on the vast scale of underreporting, which has regrettably been misconstrued to minimise and underestimate the extent of the problem, while the reality is that barriers to reporting are immense. This campaign is a first step in our joint call for concrete and tailored measures to assess and address systemic workplace misconduct including sexual harassment, bullying, abuse of authority, corruption, racism, ableism, homophobia, sexual assault, and other forms of violence.
From 11 to 22 January 2021, we tweeted 24 testimonials of women working in public international law. They shared their heartfelt and distressing reasons for not reporting workplace misconduct at international justice institutions, including retaliation, fear, stigma, gender and race bias, and opaque or missing reporting mechanisms. During the campaign, we have received support from hundreds of legal practitioners from around the world. Momentum is building in the international criminal justice community for the recognition and urgent call for accountability for workplace misconduct.
In 2021, we will continue to raise awareness and work with practitioners and the leadership of international justice organisations to proactively address widespread workplace misconduct. A first step for organisations, including courts, tribunals, NGOs, and other entities, is to thoroughly assess the deep-rooted structural reasons why abuse is chronically underreported. Once barriers to reporting are tabulated and analysed within a given organisation using a victim-centred approach, the next step is to address these roadblocks in order to facilitate reporting of misconduct, one of the multiple actions required to begin to address widespread misconduct and hold offenders accountable.
We are very grateful to the ATLAS members who generously shared their stories for this campaign. We will continue to work in solidarity towards creating healthy and safe workplaces for all.
Photo retrieved from the UN Women campaign Orange the World: Generation Equality.