Women are no strangers to the threats and actions of sexual assault. Especially in the workplace. Theyve all had their fair share of putting up with misogynistic behavior from their contemporaries, incessant objectification, and have been excluded from many meetings and clubs that are privy only to the men of the company. Despite other technological and socio-economic progressions, there has been little to no change in the abuse women have experienced in the workplace.
Tired of the abuse and misogyny spewed at them, an anonymous group of advertising executives issued a declaration vowing to hold abusive men “accountable” for sexual harassment in the advertising industry. Through their issued statement called Battlecry, the group has expressed that they will have a Zero Tolerance Approach to the abuse that they face and they will no longer escalate the abusive behavior internally but will instead, “escalate to the police.”
“From now on, there’s no price you can pay to keep our mouths shut,” the group says.
The declaration is inspired by Zoe Scaman, founder of Bodacious, who published an article Substack titled “Mad Men. Furious Women” wherein she goes into the details of the misogynistic abuse women have faced and how a staggering number of women in the industry have been victims of sexual harassment amongst other abusive actions. She calls out the industry for its failure and inability to protect its women by not confronting these male professionals with strict actions and has even allowed some to continue with their careers despite the abuse they shell out.
According to the anonymous group, Scaman helped to arrange the publication of “Battlecry”, which has been “written for and by all those let down by the industry.”
According to Scaman, “As the conversations began, the stories were shared and the culprits were named, a collective of us came together via DMs, emails, Slack and more, to draft what we see as a line in the sand. We may not be able to make them pay for what they’ve done in the past, but we can damn well ensure that we’re watching their every move in the future.”
The “Battlecry” Declaration goes as such:
This is the moment you never wanted to come.
The line in the sand you never thought anyone would draw.
The chorus of people rising, one by one
Each saying, ‘No more’.
No more will we let you get away with your behaviour.
No more will we bury the stories and suffer in silence.
No more will we let you hide behind your wives and your daughters.
No more will we accept your online virtue signaling as a sign you’ve changed.
No more will we let you be heralded as CEO’s, founders, ECD’s and leaders of this industry.
Moving forward your reputations will be forever scarred.
As we are.
If you are worried your name has been shared—it has.
If you are worried people are talking about you—they are.
And a lot of us have receipts.
Your NDA’s may protect you for now.
And the law may be on your side.
But what is not, is us.
The people you have hurt. Degraded. Fired. Assaulted. Raped.
You may not believe that happens here.
But it does.
All. The. Time.
You and the people put in place to protect you have just made those stories disappear.
You have all persuaded yourselves that it’s “not that bad.”
But who gets to decide what is good and bad?
Who gets to decide what is right and wrong?
Who gets to play judge and jury?
It was you.
But now it’s us.
We have recognised that Management teams and HR departments protect businesses.
So, from now on, we will protect ourselves.
We will have a zero tolerance approach.
We won’t escalate internally.
We’ll escalate to the police.
We won’t sign your silencing documents.
We’ll shout your names from the rooftops.
We won’t cower under your threats of reprisal.
We’ll stand tall with an army at our backs.
We won’t take your money to stay quiet.
From now on, there’s no price you can pay to keep our mouths shut.
While we may not be able to hold you accountable for your actions of the past
We can hold you accountable for your actions today and tomorrow.
Think of this as your point of reckoning.
A moment in time where you have a choice to make.
To hold yourself and your behaviour accountable.
To learn and grow and change.
Or to keep doing what you are doing
And to push against the turning of the tide.
But trust us when we say, if you do, we will pull you under.
Because now you won’t be able to squash one person and their experience
You’ll have to take on us all.
You ignored Times Up and Me Too, narrowly, and laughed about it in bars (yes, we know).
But you should be more scared of this.
Now you won’t even get away with so much as a stray wink.
Good luck out there.
Accountability is a b*tch.
And now all eyes are on you.