– Sexual harassment is about power and hierarchies, writes Tajik in his brand new book “Freedom”, which Dagbladet has gained access to.
She states that it is not enough to expect people in power not to abuse their power, but believes that everyone in a position has a responsibility to shape safe workplaces and organizations.
– Part of the security is created by standing up for those who are exposed, states the Labor Party deputy leader, who himself has had to endure internal criticism for his role in the so-called Giske case.
– Not in doubt
She herself describes the warnings against Giske in relatively brief terms:
– When in December 2017 there were several reports of concern about sexual harassment against my deputy colleague Trond Giske, I had no doubt that this had to be passed on to the party office as the appropriate body, writes Tajik.
She still thinks she did the only right thing:
– Anyone who receives information about something worthy of criticism has both a legal and moral duty to address it. Of course I did, she writes.
Giske resigned as deputy leader of the Labor Party in January 2018 after several warnings had come against him. The party concluded that Giske had violated the party’s internal guidelines against sexual harassment, but Giske himself has denied the allegations of sexual harassment. He has also claimed that several of the warnings are “baseless and false”.
He has no comment to Dagbladet on Tajik’s presentation.
Tajik further describes in the book how a close employee in December 2017 told her that she had submitted a formal notice against Giske, to the Labor Party’s secretariat management in the Storting.
– She had chosen to submit the notice before she told me about it, Tajik says in the book.
She says the employee also presented an assessment of the content of the warning, carried out by a lawyer and an organizational psychologist that the party had commissioned.
– I had no reason to doubt what she said. I still do not have that, writes Tajik in the book.
Tajik’s book is a personal account, but it is also largely political. Where she talks about her own hidden medical history and the problems she has experienced with getting pregnant, she draws parallels to what she experiences as invisibility of women’s body and health.
She believes there is a common thread from maternity care, which she believes does not invite co-determination from pregnant women, to all those who believe that sexual harassment is only part of the jargon and “something you have to endure”.
– Do not be stuffy. Do not be demanding. It can not be that bad. Many have experienced the same thing as you, and they neither cry nor carry themselves, Tajik writes rhetorically and continues:
– In the long run, it is not possible to tell a new generation of women that the rules of the game can not be changed. It was not we who shaped these social structures that give women less freedom. We do not intend to live by them either, she writes.