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Why Isn’t Sexual Harassment Reported More Often?

Published on Nov 19, 2021 at 4:13 pm in Employment Law.

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When someone has been sexually harassed, you might think that they’ll immediately want to seek justice and report what happened to them. But that’s not always the case. Sexual harassment is a complicated situation in the way that victims might not act how you expect them to act—but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been harmed.

If the victim is blaming themselves, doesn’t want to make a fuss about what they experienced, doesn’t think they’ll be believed, or doesn’t recognize what happened to them as sexual harassment, then it’s likely they won’t report the harassment. Some might argue that means the experience wasn’t that bad, but that’s largely untrue.

Men and women who have been sexually harassed are less likely to report for many reasons. We’ll look into some of those reasons here so that you can better understand why sexual harassment isn’t reported more often, and why the lack of reporting doesn’t negate the severity of the experience.

Why Victims Might Not Report Their Sexual Harassment

As mentioned above, when a worker has been victimized and sexually harassed, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll automatically report what happened to them. Unfortunately, many won’t, but it’s for valid reasons. Of course, reporting is important because the intention is to hold that person accountable. But as we’ve seen, that’s not always what happens.

According to Psychology Today, about 70 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment while at work or on the job. This source also states that the statistics of women who are sexually harassed at work are the same as how many women are sexually assaulted in the United States—one in four women.

And of course it’s important to mention that men can be the victim of sexual harassment and assault as well. Sexual harassment can occur to anyone of any gender, can be perpetrated by a person of any gender, and is not only perpetrated by someone of a different gender from the victim—it can happen to anyone and by anyone.

There are many reasons why sexual harassment isn’t reported more often. Reporting is up to the victim, so some reasons they might not are:

  • They fear retaliation in the workplace
  • They’re afraid they won’t be believed
  • They don’t think they have enough evidence
  • Their harasser will deny it
  • Their harasser will do worse
  • They blame themselves for what happened even though it’s in no way their fault
  • They’re afraid they’ll be blamed for what happened
  • They don’t want to make a big deal out of the situation and draw attention to themselves
  • They don’t realize the severity of what’s happened to them, or they don’t want to believe it happened to them
  • They feel hopeless and helpless after the event
  • They don’t think they perpetrator will actually be punished

If a victim doesn’t quite feel up to reporting what they’ve experienced, they could talk to an employment lawyer so they have legal support that guides them in the right direction. Having the representation of an attorney to ensure they get justice can be exactly what they need to take action.

Signs A Person Has Been Sexually Harassed

Since a victim of sexual harassment might not report what they’ve experienced for a variety of reasons, it could be helpful for other workers to keep an eye out to recognize their behavior. If you notice that one of your coworkers or superiors is acting differently, then it could point to them being sexually harassed in the workplace.

Here are some of the signs that someone else in the workplace might have experienced sexual harassment even though they didn’t report it:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Isolation
  • Change in mood or personality
  • PTSD
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior

As you pay more attention to your coworker’s or employee’s actions, you might be more aware of what’s happening around the office. If you witness an act of sexual harassment, you should report that to your human resources.

What Can Be Done About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

As discussed above, one of the main actions that can be done about sexual harassment in the workplace is reporting. It’s important to report sexual harassment so that you are a step closer to getting the justice you deserve for what has happened to you. On top of reporting this harassment to your human resources department, there are other actions you can take.

When you want to take things a step further, you can elect to take legal action. With the help of an employment lawyer, you can rest assured that your case will be as strong as possible, and your attorney will support you every step of the way. Your lawyer understands you’re the victim and deserve justice, which is why we will ensure you feel comfortable and will represent you in your sexual harassment claim.

Collecting evidence of the encounter will help your lawyers build your case down the line. Keeping all correspondence, including emails, messages, and texts, will enable you to prove what happened. Photos, videos, witness statements, and medical records will also be proof that you were sexually assaulted in the workplace.

It can be hard to advocate for yourself after enduring sexual harassment at work. That’s where we come in. When you have an employment lawyer from McMath Woods P.A. on your side, you can rest assured you’ll be fully supported and represented throughout your claim. We’ll fight to get you the justice you deserve.

McMath Woods P.A. Is Here for You

You don’t have to go through this alone. At McMath Woods P.A., we understand how difficult this time can be for you. We’re here to guide you through your claim and ensure you’re comfortable every step of the way.

Our employment attorneys are dedicated to advocating for you and holding the other party responsible for what they’ve done to you. Reach out to our office today so we can get started working for you.

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