Thanks to the phenomenal success and profile of the #MeToo movement in the last couple of years, questions and concerns for women’s well being and women’s experiences are more high profile and heard now than they have ever been. Just because this movement started in the circles of Hollywood, it doesn’t mean that it can’t give you some insight and inspiration for how to deal with similar experiences in your own life and existence. Here is how to deal with sexual harassment at work.
1. Speak up
This is the kind of problem that isn’t going to go away unless you make it known to all of the relevant parties and avenues. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it will stop on its own because sexual harassers simply don’t take no for an answer. You need to be proactive and get to human resources, to your colleagues, to your bosses, to make sure that your problems are known are addressed. Please don’t suffer in silence.
2. Legal Action
It can be stressful to graduate your complaint from a personal thing to a legal thing, but sometimes that is the only route to take, especially if your bosses aren’t being sympathetic or understanding of your problems. In this newer and better work climate, there are plenty of organisations that take women’s rights and discrimination cases as a matter of urgency and priority, so don’t be afraid to float your experience to the powers that be; they will be more than happy to fight your corner.
3. Don’t Quit
Probably the most natural instinct is to quit your job and remove yourself from the situation, but how does that help anyone else that might be harrassed by that person in the future? If you love your job, and the only thing that is making it miserable is the actions of one asshole, then stand your ground and go through the right processes to ensure that he is the one who is removed instead of you having to sacrifice yourself.
4. Don’t Be Scared
Sexual harassment can be extremely upsetting and scary, especially in situations where it is just you and your aggressor in a space. However, if they can tell that you are scared, they feed off of that energy and it gives them even more power. It’s easier said than done for me to tell you to not be scared, but the less you can convey to give your harasser more motive and power, the better.