There has been a lot of talk about Sexual Harassment lately as some celebrities have been accused of misconduct. But, one of the most common places that sexual harassment happens is unfortunately in the workplace. According to one study, up to 85% of women have reported that they have been victims of sexual harassment while at work.
To bring more attention to this problem, here are five things most people don’t know about workplace sexual harassment:
1. Up to 75% of victims faced retaliation after speaking up
More often than not, women who speak out about how they’ve been sexually harassed end up facing retaliation for it, most often from the man who victimized them, but also frequently from other members of human resources or management within the business. This often happens because the victims aren’t believed, and are therefore punished for speaking negatively about a colleague.
Because of this fear of retaliation, only between 6 and 13 percent of harassment victims file a formal report against their attacker, meaning that up to 94 percent of people who have experienced some form of sexual harassment never even say anything. This allows their attacker to continue doing as they please with them and other women in the workplace.
2. The severity of sexual harassment varies by industry
Although sexual harassment cases can be found in every industry, there are somewhere women are hit much worse. Typically, women who are in lower-wage jobs and the service industries are significantly more likely to be victims of sexual harassment than those who are in white-collar jobs. This is primarily because sexual harassment is often a display of power, so women who are powerless are more easily victimized.
3. Women are not the only victims
While most of this information has focused on women being the victims and men being the attacker, there has been a definite rise in men reporting sexual harassment. In 1990, only about 8 percent of the reported sexual harassment incidences in the United States came from men. However, in 2009, that number rose to 16 percent, though it’s unclear if this is simply a rise in men coming forward or a rise in actual sexual harassment cases against men.
4. Sexual harassment accusations are expensive for companies
What most people don’t realize is that companies shell out millions of dollars every year as a result of sexual harassment cases. The majority of that goes into settlements to keep the victims from making their charges public. Sexual harassment charges going public can seriously hurt a company’s reputation, which means that many times, a man who is regularly harassing women could end up costing his company more than he’s bringing in.
5. Sexual harassment training is NOT effective
Some people see the rise in sexual harassment cases and believe that more education for employees is needed. However, most of the sexual harassment training that companies provide for their employees is simply not effective. It’s often mocked because of the way it’s presented and only focuses on the legal liabilities that a company could face if accusations occur.
Industry experts agree that the best way to combat sexual harassment in the workforce is by providing education and tools to middle managers. In most cases, these are the first people that hear of the sexual harassment that’s happening in their department and can truly make a difference in the way their part of the company operates on a day-to-day basis.
However, it’s top management that is responsible for setting the overall tone of the company to make it clear that sexual harassment will not be tolerated and will be taken seriously by those who are brave enough to come forward.
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About the Author: Originally from Michigan, Melody now enjoys working as a freelance writer from her home in Nicaragua, which she shares with her amazing husband and their crazy cat that was raised on goat’s milk from the time her mother abandoned her at just ten days old. They’re excited to be expecting their first baby, who they thought was a girl, were told was a boy, and then was told was a girl. She also recently finished her first novel and is working on making a cat coloring book.