Did you know that up to 70% of women and 45% of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work? This is an unfortunate situation that can have drastic negative consequences, but the fact is that it happens. If you are exposed to sexual harassment in the future, the tips below will help you get through the experience and the depression that comes with it. Here are some solutions for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.
Types Of Sexual Harassment
Some people don’t “deal with” sexual harassment because they simply do not know they are being harassed. There are several forms of sexual harassment, and they aren’t always as blatant as touching a person inappropriately. Sexual harassment may include:
- Degrading comments in relation to a person’s gender (“you can’t do that because you’re a woman”/”come on, be a man about this!”)
- Excessive flirtation, especially after the recipient has told the flirter to stop
- Sexual invitations
- Asking a person for sex in exchange for a task or other reward (“I’ll give you the report if you do this for me…”)
- Forceful touching, grabbing or pressing up against someone
- Using the denial of sex as a form of punishment (turn down someone’s sexual advances and receive a negative performance evaluation shortly afterward)
- Making inappropriate comments about a person’s appearance
- Spreading false rumors in the workplace or on social media about a person’s sexual activities
It’s important to note that sexual harassment can happen to both men and women, even though women are the most recognized victims. A woman can be just as persuasive, persistent, and inconsiderate as a man can be, and the effects of those actions can be just as damaging. Sexual harassment can also happen between members of the same sex, regardless of each person’s sexual orientation.
What To Do When You Experience Sexual Harassment At Work
If you experience sexual harassment at work, you need to end it as quickly as possible. However, there is a right and wrong way to go about this. Follow these steps:
- Deny the person’s advances. In order for conduct to truly be considered “harassment,” you must make it clear that the actions are not welcome. Acknowledge the person’s advances with a firm “No, I am not interested” and avoid all forms of flirtation to follow. You do not want to give off the impression that you are reciprocating the feelings.
- Write down a clear account of the events as soon as they happen. This will act as documentation when you present the issue to your employer, and it will ensure that you include every detail. If you want an accurate timestamp of the events, you could send yourself a text or email.
- Make a report to your employer. Every workplace has its own protocol for how to handle sexual harassment. You may need to report it to your manager, the business owner, or the human resources department. If the harasser works in one of those positions, you will need to make a report to someone above his or her ranking.
- Keep track of your performance records. Once you accuse the person of harassment, they may seek vengeance. This should not scare you from making a report! Keep copies of your performance records and other work-related documents to use as proof if your work comes into question.
- Talk to potential witnesses. If you know of anyone who witnessed the sexual harassment, talk to them about what happened and see if they will testify on your behalf. You may also look for people who have been victims of the same harasser as they could become character witnesses in your case (either a formal trial or a complaint within the company).
- Talk to a depression counselor about your experience. You may not realize how much the sexual harassment impacts your life until you start talking to someone about it. Speak with a depression counselor about the incident and learn effective ways to work through your emotions. The specialists at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers would be happy to assist you.
Continue to Part 2 of this guide to learn how to handle the emotional side effects of sexual harassment.