Over the last few months, several allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct have come forward regarding people like Harvey Weinstein, Ben Affleck, President George H. W. Bush, Louis C. K., James Franco, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, and others.
In response, the #MeToo movement was born that united women around the world in stating that this abuse of power is not just present when celebrities are involved. Unfortunately, women are forced to “put up” with this sort of behaviour on a daily basis. This happens so frequently at workplaces. This is terrible considering this is where many of us spend the majority of our waking hours.
What is so disheartening is the number of people who have had sexual harassment rumours following them and yet their employers did not seem to do anything about it until the allegations became public recently. It’s as if we are not taken seriously until profits are at stake. It’s also sad to see the large number of people who have been accused.
Pieces like this are always a bit tricky to write because I do not want to ever come across as blaming the victim. It is always the perpetrators’ fault and we should work for a society where the we seek to change their behaviour. In the meantime, here are some tips that might help you tackle workplace sexual harassment:
- Document the date and detail of each encounter. Also document any retaliation tactics that you might observe (trying to sabotage you, verbal abuse, isolation, etc.).
- Speak to your co-workers in case they are experiencing the same issue, too.
- Report the incident(s) to your human resources department and document the fact that you went there, too.
- Keep reporting the incidents and documenting them. If your workplace is unresponsive, that might help you set grounds for a lawsuit.
- If there was a violent and/or sexual encounter, seek medical attention.
- Seek counselling services to help you work through your feelings. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, try speaking to a trusted family member or friend.