Sexual harassment is no laughing matter. It is a problem that has been going on for a very long time. We have recently seen women coming out against powerful men who have abused them. From Roger Ailes to Harvey Weinstein, it took these women decades to come out and speak the truth.
There is fear among women to speak up in fears of losing their job, publicly shamed or have no one believing in them. If you are one of these people, it is time that you learn how to deal with the problem. Here are some tips in dealing with sexual harassment at work.
Check the company handbook
You need to know what to do if someone harasses you. It is also important that you know the definition of harassment on the handbook. There are also instances in which the handbook is not in compliance with what is mandated by the government. Hence, it helps a lot if speak with the right government agency to find out what else you can do to assert your legal rights.
Report harassment immediately
There is no need for you to delay it. Stop thinking about the repercussions of your decision. You are the victim and you have to stand up for yourself. Tell your employer about the harassment or go to your Human Resources department. If there are steps you have to go through, find the courage to go through them. File a report or send an email to the right person. At this point, it does not matter if your complaint was acted upon. The goal is for you to say that you have reported the harassment. Later, if this is dragged to the courts, you will not be questioned on your timing.
Find other possible victims
You may not be alone. This was shown by other women who came out against Weinstein. The moment someone stepped up to say the truth, the others started coming out. There is strength in numbers. The others might have been a victim too and they are just waiting for someone who is going through the same thing. Tell them to also write complaints and keep all records.
Keep other pertinent documents
When you bring this up to your supervisor or the HR, don’t expect them to help you out. There is a strong chance that they will even take it against you. They will look for a reason to downplay your complaint. Hence, it is important to keep all records so in the event that they retaliate, you can respond to them. For instance, they could not just say that you have poor work performance or you always come late. You can show documents proving otherwise.
This might be an impossible task, but you need to make sure there are other people who can testify on your behalf. If there is anyone, for sure this person could not remain silent forever. Having someone proving your words to be true would be a huge help.
You need to know what your rights are. Don’t be afraid. There are a lot of people out there willing to help you out.
Featured and 1st image by stars alive [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
2nd image by GNelsonFernandez (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons