Best Ways To Handle Sexual Harassment
In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, it will be good to look at practical ways of handling sexual harassment as experienced by women in their workplaces.
In the wake of series of sexual harassment allegations women all over the world have woken up to the reality that this is an endemic, hence it needs to be giving urgent attention.
It is a becoming a regular occurrence in work place and can take the shape of verbal, physical conduct, unwanted sexual advances, request for sexual favours and it can also include gender harassment, harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions such as breast-feeding and this can be perpetrated by coworker or supervisor.
This can be a very depressing experience for the victim and can be detrimental to a worker’s ability to thrive, not to mention it being a threat to their safety, for the fact that this is unwanted attention, a victim of sexual harassment may have problem knowing how to respond. Despite the fact that Government law is against sexual harassment in workplace, it is still important for women to learn effective mechanism in dealing with it.
Meanwhile, quite a handful of ladies do wonder, if actually there are practical ways to handle wandering hands so as to make sure nobody’s impropriety will destroy their career prospects. It should not be your responsibility to avoid being harassed; this is very vital because you ought not to be harassed by anyone but failing to check it correctly could lead to not getting heard and the harasser must not be left uncorrected and unpunished because the victim feel intimidated or uncomfortable for fear that they may be retaliated against when experiencing these difficult situations. Women should know how to recognize harassment and when to take action, also they should know what to expect of their employer when filing a complaint.
Every case of Sexual harassment is different and the right approach will depend on the particular circumstance, here are few takeaways below that will ensure that you are as protected as much as possible.
Have a direct talk with the person involved to stop harassing you, look them in the face and tell them what they did was inappropriate. Be specific and blunt, if the behavior persists then let the harasser know that you plan to file a report if the behavior continues. At this point some people will discontinue but if your attacker does not back-down, feel very free to take further action.
Document the incident and get it reported immediately.
Sexual Harassment is very wrong and needs to be checked. If you feel in your best judgment that you have handled things as shown above, that is documenting the date, time, place, what occurred, your reaction and the harasser’s response. You will have a case note to refer to if it ever happens again to you or someone else.
Get other victims of sexual harassment by same attacker: you might be surprise to find out that some victims have logged complaints in time past. Secure the testimony of any witnesses of your incidents in writing especially as this will help with your case.
Call the Police if you have been sexually assaulted, you have the right to report it as a crime and don’t let guilt or a desire to protect your attacker stop you from asserting your rights.
Have nothing to fear as you have done no wrong, whoever gets away with one instance may just continue the harassment which could eventually result into a more violation crime like rape.
Get your Superior informed about your harasser by reporting all incidents to him/her. Do this in writing, a formal letter to your superior detailing all the events that occurred, ask for a meeting to explain in person.
Go an extra mile to contact your Human Resource Manager who can inform you on the step to take concerning sexual harassment incidents as he/she could possess an expert knowledge about Sexual Harassment and discrimination and would be ready to give impartial advice.
If your complaint does not yield the necessary results from Management, file a complaint with Federal Government Agency in charge of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if possible file a lawsuit using a Legal representation from an attorney who handles Sexual Harassment cases, seeking monetary damages or try to get your job back in case you were fired due to the incident.
See a professional therapist as sexual harassment can cause the victim to feel anger, fear, self consciousness or embarrassment including physical problems like having trouble with sleeping or loss of appetite which could affect your job performance.
In experiencing these named side effects, it will be important not to blame yourself, a Certified Sex therapist can help you make sense of what you are going through, help you find the next steps in resolving the issue and to help get your mind from the situation.
Consider joining a support group if you have been traumatized, this can help some victims feel empowered again. Regardless of what happens, it is a reminder of just how male dominated the business world is and women who want to thrive in it must be prepare to deal with the unwanted attention or even all out harassment.
The challenge is how to take the incident seriously but manage it successfully so that it does not stifle your professional ambitions or sap your confidence.
By Adesuwa Ewoigbokhan