"I certainly have become an advocate after seeing the consequences it has on staff in the office. It happens to some of the warmest and nicest people you can imagine and it causes you to wonder how anyone can take out their frustrations on such people," said Robert Loggia, Outgoing BSP Group Chief Operating Officer, when reflecting on the Family Sexual Violence (FSV) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) this month.
Robert, an executive management team member of BSP, shared his thoughts and experiences in supporting BSP staff faced with family sexual violence and how he has now become an advocate.
Having worked mostly in Asia before his 9 years with BSP, Robert says family sexual violence was not really discussed openly. However, it became very clear to him once he came to PNG. "There is a higher than average prevalence in the society and that this form of violence did affect a large number of staff (both as victims and perpetrators)."
He was prompted to support causes that helped staff in the workplace because of stories in the press, conversations with colleagues and seeing some of these same colleagues suffering through it in silence at times with visible signs both physical and behavioural.
Robert feels he best helped by letting someone unburden themselves by sharing their experience and the best thing to do thereafter would be to refer them to professionals who know best how to deal with the practicalities. Through these experiences, his previous thoughts of FSV just as being physical abuse changed to the realisation that the treatment can be just as painful and damaging as mental abuse.
"In terms of advocacy going forward, should I encounter it in any form I would certainly not be rationalising it as "none of my business". I would try to assist in any way I could without escalating any confrontation but looking to de-escalate in a way that the perpetrator realises that he/she needs assistance," concluded Robert.
BSP started its biggest social justice campaign #BlackThursdays, since July 2020, to create awareness on FSV/GBV and to empower its staff to put an end to violence.
BSP Staff Observing the #BlackThursday in black every Thursdays