For many victims of workplace sexual harassment, coming forward with their stories is exceedingly difficult. As someone who experienced this type of treatment in your workplace, you may know all too well it can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and desperation. Additionally, if you are like many other victims of sexual harassment, you may have made the decision not to come forward at all.
According to the Mercury News, nearly 99 percent of those who experience sexual harassment in the workplace fail to ever file formal charges. Furthermore, a large percentage of those who do decide to file charges face termination or retaliation on the aftermath of their filing.
By the numbers
Because so many American victims of workplace sexual harassment never come forward, only about 1,500 cases made their way through the legal system in 2016. When it comes to those who did get the courage to speak out and call attention to their mistreatment between 2012 and 2016, however, nearly 65 percent of them lost their jobs within one year of doing so.
Another 68 percent of those who reported sexual harassment in the workplace, meanwhile, said they experienced some type of retaliation after speaking out. Retaliation can take on many different forms, but some workers found themselves demoted in the aftermath of reporting sexual harassment. Others, meanwhile, found they received less-favorable schedules or job duties after calling attention to harassment.
The “me too” effect
There is, however, some positive news. In the wake of the recent “me too” movement, some workers feel increasingly comfortable about speaking out about the injustices experienced in the workplace. Women, in particular, may become more comfortable speaking out, which is important because more than 80 percent of sexual harassment claims come from female employees.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, do not let others scare you into submission. Their treatment is unlawful and unethical, and you can hold them accountable for the uncomfortable work environment they have created.