Thursday, 25 November 2010

An Inspector Calls

It's strange how things sometimes work out isn't it?

A colleague today asked me if I'd write something on here about the 16 days of activism to end violence against women. I'll have to admit that my initial reaction was to think that such an item would appear rather out of place on a blog that's focused on HR issues and case studies from the world of work.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign

But a relaxing evening a home gave me the opportunity to put my feet up and read through J.B. Priestley's excellent and thought-provoking stage-play, "An Inspector Calls."

Without wanting to spoil it for those who may be unfamiliar with the play, an evening's entertainment is interrupted by a mysterious character who proceeds to question - and implicate - all the guests about the tragic suicide of Eva Smith, a young girl whose descent into despair was triggered by something very familiar to the readers of this blog: a rejected request for higher wages, followed by a dismissal by an employer.

In one of the most powerful speeches that you'll hear on stage, the Inspector speaks the following lines:
Just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone -  but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, with what we think, say, and do. We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good Night.
Priestley's play is clearly fictional, but the facts are that over two women per week are killed by current or ex-partners, and that one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

Whether or not we work in HR, as J.B Priestley says, we are responsible for each other, so don't brush this issue under the carpet. There's plenty of resources available on the issue: I've included a link to just one below. Check it out.

Restored: Ending Violence Against Women

[The editor of HR Case Studies walks straight out, leaving them staring, subdued and wondering. As they stare guiltily and dumbfounded, the curtain falls]

End of Play

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