Sexual harassment at the office is seen to be a pressing issue mostly for women. When the harassment occurs around you, or to you, it isn’t always obvious. Sexual harassment includes sexual favours being asked of you, unwelcome sexual advances and physical harassment as well, among other things.
When it comes to sexual harassment, trust your gut and instinct. If you happen to feel like something a co-worker said or did makes you uncomfortable, awkward or threatened, then you are probably a victim of sexual harassment. There are different signs that one can look out for in order to figure out if what is going on is actual sexual harassment.
Like it was mentioned above, sexual favours being demanded of you or unwelcomed sexual advances. If the harasser claims these things in exchange for a promotion or immunity from being fired, then this definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
Another case that might spark needed attention is the harasser touching the victim, or themselves, inappropriately. If the harasser is very provocative as well then you should be able to tell that such things shouldn’t be tolerated. In most cases, the victims of sexual harassment are not comfortable with sharing their situation with anybody. This is due to feeling embarrassed, fear of being terrorised by the harasser, or even risking their job. So they choose to keep it to themselves which is extremely dangerous.
Additionally, if the harasser makes verbal offensive attacks or comments against your body, then that is considered to be sexual harassment as well. If words are offensive or unnecessary, especially when not work oriented, then a report needs to be filed to the human resource department.
Another thing to look out for is if someone is asking about sexual experiences. Such conversations shouldn’t be held at the workplace. If someone starts to convey such intentions, avoid engagement with the person at all costs. If the harasser occasionally asks to meet up face-to-face alone outside the work environment, in most cases this might be a trap. Look into his intentions in order to stay on the safe side.
“Being at the work place as one of the few females is definitely not an easy thing. Being constantly underestimated is one thing, however, sexual harassment shouldn’t be let off the hook. As soon as my colleague confined in me about her case, I immediately let the human resource manager know about it and some measures were taken,” says Alice Umulisa, an employee at Tele 10.
Victims of such incidents do indeed fear the repercussions that may follow after speaking up about their experience. Nonetheless, holding back such information may put you at a risk worse than you taking action against it. You can very well inspire someone else to speak up about the troubles they have been facing. All one has to do is talk to someone openly who can impact change.
One should never feel threatened to the extent that they sacrifice their wellbeing. Informing the employment lawyer is another way of acting against the harasser. One step is all you need to begin a revolutionary change against sexual harassment in the office.