What Should You Do In The Event of Sexual Harassment at Work?
Sexual harassment at work is something that some people encounter in their working lives. In fact, it does not only happen to women. Around 40% of complaints about sexual assault and domestic abuse come from males, despite the widely false perception that only women are the victims of sexual harassment.
Sexual assault can range from comments about another person’s sexual orientation, a smack on the bottom, rude sexual jokes, display of pornography, touching with or without clothing, and worse, rape. How would you know if another person is sexually harassing you, and is there anything you can do against it?
How To Know If It’s A Sexual Assault
Some people are confused whether an action is just a normal touch or a sexual harassment. A sexual assault is performed when the other person engages in sexual activity without your consent. No, sexual activity does not only refer to the sexual act itself.
Any form of touching in an intimate and sexual way to another person for the motive of satisfying sexual desires of either party is a sexual assault. This action includes the harasser’s touching the victim, and the touching of the victim as demanded by the harasser, whether it was done directly or with clothing.
What To Do After Being Sexually Assaulted At Your Workplace
- Confront the person who is sexually harassing you
The first thing you can do is confront the “harasser” or the person who is sexually assaulting you. Look them straight in their eyes and inform them that what they were doing is inappropriate. Be blunt and specific and never worry about being impolite. You have every right to feel that way.
- Demand that person to stop
If that person continues to sexually assault you, tell them immediately to “stop!” Make sure that your voice is loud enough for extra emphasis and for other coworkers to hear. Most importantly, never apologize or make any excuses for the offender.
- Document and Report It ASAP
Sexual harassment and assault is wrong, illegal, and must be addressed immediately. In the event that you have managed to do steps one and two, then record the date, time and place. Also, document everything that transpired: your actions, and the offender’s response. If he/she assaults you again, or to someone else at your workplace, then at least you have a history or report to refer to.
- Report Immediately if physical contact is involved
Never let sexual demands and touches go unreported. Sexual touch is a sexual assault. Some people find an excuse that touching is being sweet, or being nice. NO. That person should never be allowed to touch you, especially if you feel uncomfortable about it.
Make a report about the incident and report it immediately to the management.
- Call the police
You have the right to call local authorities and report sexual assault as a crime. Never feel guilty or have the desire to protect the offender stop you from upholding your rights. You have not done anything wrong, and if he/she gets away with one incident may become persistent in doing the harassment. That persistence can escalate into a more offensive and violent crime such as rape.
Call A Lawyer
In the event that you have been sexually harassed at work, reported it, and lost your job for it, you may seek help from a civil rights attorney. Likewise, if you reported the sexual assault to the management and they failed to take appropriate steps in investigating and stopping the harassment at work, seek help from a lawyer.