Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious offense. Statistics show that 40% of women have allegedly been sexually harassed in the workplace. Sexual harassment does not ask for gender and can be either an attack on men or women. Most people who have been victims of sexual harassment are often to afraid to come forward and therefore these cases are never known about nor resolved.
It is important for the victims to come forward and report the matter. It is beneficial to report it as it can only be resolved when reported and it should be reported to your manager, supervisor or anyone in a superior position that will be able to do something about it. While this is easier said than done, victims often fear that the matter will lead to loss of employment. There is also the fear of being cast out by colleagues, but failure to report such matters and hold it’s perpetrators accountable means these people will have the freedom to continue doing it to other people. And surely you would have preferred if someone had been bold enough to put a stop to it and prevent the same thing from happening to you.
Keeping quiet about the harassment can lead to anxiety and stress, so it is important to seek advice from a counselor or any support group you feel comfortable with. Also remember that when the matter is reported it is easier to seek help and it will alleviate the anxiety and stress.
When reporting the matter you need to ensure that you have all your facts in order so that the person guilty of the act can be dealt with accordingly. There are different types of harassment so you should seek help and figure out how this person has harassed you.
If any of your colleagues has offended you with sexual advances or comments, or made you watch pornographic images or videos and made you feel uncomfortable, those are all signs of sexual harassment and should be reported. If dealt with from the get go it can avoid that the matter getting out of hand or worsening as time passes. This will also allow the superior in question take action and prevent it from happening to anyone else again.
You need to remember that only sexual acts that you are not a willing participant in can be deemed as sexual harassment. If you agree to any sexual, physical or consensual relationship it cannot be deemed as sexual harassment in any way. Every company should have an existing policy on sexual harassment and the punishment they see fit for anyone who commits this offence. There should also be a program in place to avoid these things from happening and this should be discussed with all employees. Always ensure that you are aware of your company’s policies. If there is any way of resolving this matter without involving the police or a lawyer then do so as this will protect the reputation of your company and also keep your identity anonymous.
Always keep records of when and what happened. It’s important to have an incident record so that you can have all your facts when reporting the matter. If the person has called or texted you keep a record of your call log or print the text messages as evidence.
If your case is being ignored by your employer get the advice of a lawyer or go to the police.