10 ways to handle sexual harassment in the workplace
Many women are victims of sexual harassment and it is unfortunate that sexual harassment is a common occurrence in the workplace.
Sexual harassment can happen in the form of verbal or physical conduct. Many women who have been victims sometimes wonder how to get over being sexually harassed.
Sexual harassment happens in many workplaces, and profoundly impacts the harassed. In most cases, women are the most sexually harassed in many workplaces.
The harassment ranges from derogatory comments to unwanted sexual advances and threats, to sexual assault and rape. Irrespective of what form it comes in, sexual harassment continually reminds women how they are not safe in this male-dominated world.
Dealing with physical assault in the place where you earn your daily bread is not a funny experience. The victims of such assaults sometimes struggle with not being believed especially when the perpetrator is their boss.
But even if these women summon the courage to report their molesters, how does HR handle harassment? Do they blame the victims for dressing seductively or take fast action against the molester?
The way some victims are victimized by colleagues and bosses alike discourage them from reporting when they have been sexually harassed. As a woman, you have to know how to avoid being sexually harassed in your workplace by committing the tips below to mind.
Women who intend to succeed in their work places should learn how to thrive there and more importantly how to successfully handle harassment in the workplace.
Set boundaries with colleagues and bosses
Don’t entertain uncensored jokes and bantering that can lead to unwanted sexual talks even when you are free and friendly with your colleagues. Once you notice that someone has crossed the line of decency, change your demeanor and clearly address the issue immediately. That’s the right thing to do. Doing this will keep them in check and stop them from harassing you further.
Differentiate flirting from harassment
You have to identify sexual harassment for what it is, before making hasty conclusions about someone in your work place. Your colleague or boss might just be friendly or flirting with you. But when you no longer feel comfortable with their moves, tell them to back off. If they don’t, then you are being sexually harassed.
Don’t blame yourself for suffering harassment
Some people might accuse you of being the cause of your harassment due to your dressing. Many men and even women tend to accuse victims of dressing indecently whenever they are sexually harassed. Being a victim is not your fault. Don’t allow the words of thee ignorant people dissuade you from seeking justice for yourself.
Rise above misogyny at work
If someone is always picking on you at work because you are a woman, rise above them. If a male colleague feels you must bow to their whims because of their gender, shut him down quickly. For instance, if he always tries to throw you off balance before your boss, calmly but firmly put the hater in his place. This will give you the confidence to rise in your career without further interruptions from him.
Don’t mix business with pleasure
You have to know that dating people you work with often results in many unpalatable issues. A consensual sexual relationship might lead to future sexual harassment by one of the parties even after the relationship has ended. The best thing you can do as a woman is to take your sex life far away from your workplace. You don’t have to succumb to sexual pressure just because someone is threatening to lay you off, or tell the boss about your sexual escapades in the office.
Talk to the person harassing you
When the initial sexual harassment incident takes place, tell the person harassing you to stop. If the person continues displaying the same behavior, inform them that you plan to file a report if they continue with their inappropriate behavior. Some harassers discontinue their behaviour once they are threatened, but if he is stubborn don’t hesitate to report them to the appropriate quarters.
Report the perpetrator
The situation won’t stop until you quit the job or report to the appropriate authority. But before you go ahead to report your abuser, gather your proofs. You can document days, time and location of each harassment and submit to the appropriate authorities. Woman, if you are harassed by a co-worker or boss, talk to HR, as they are trained to deal with such matters with discreetness and in confidence. No woman should have to endure harassment. Tell someone you trust, perhaps another colleague so that you can get their support. If you are harassed by the highest authority in your place of work, report him to the police. The ideal time to report is within three months of the harassment, anything other than that will not be taken serious.
Find other victims to serve as witnesses
You can never be alone in such situation. A harasser will keep harassing anyone they can intimidate, so search for other victims that have had a taste of embarrassment from your harasser. This will help support your claim. You may find that some other victims have filed complaints in the past. Explain your situation to them and ask them to testify of their experiences. This is what to do when you are sexually harassed and you want the person to pay for their actions.
File a lawsuit
Seek legal representation from an attorney who handles sexual harassment cases, then you will be guided on how to possibly file a lawsuit. After you file a complaint, you can possibly file a lawsuit. You can seek monetary damages, or try to get your job back if your employer fired you due to the incidents. If you plan to file a lawsuit, you should not have any further contact with your harasser or respond to any of their messages. This may destroy your case against them.
Just move on with your life
Surviving sexual harassment is very hard. You might lose friends and allies when you decide to go after the person harassing you. But if after reporting to all the necessary authorities and nothing is done to stop your harasser from intimidating you, then the best thing is to apply for an instant transfer to another department or branch of the company. If this is not feasible, then start looking for another job, because the more you remain at that office and endure sexual harassment the more vulnerable you become. You just have to move on with your life.