Inspired to Come Forward?
Women who were sexually harassed or violated have options. Learn yours.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE | # women empowerment
This is just the beginning. Women are tired of this, and we won’t take it any longer. If you were harassed or abused at work you may have legal or other options, and it’s time to make use of them.
We’re women helping women deal with their abuse and learn how and when to take legal action. Enough already, right?
Call it What it is.
This is What Sexual Harassment @ the Workplace Looks Like:
Wondering if you have been sexually harassed? If you are wondering, you probably have. 🙁
Just a sample of the various manifestations of workplace sexual harassment you might have heard about in 2016: “It’s your word against mine.” “You owe me.” Stalking. Groping. Lewd, sexual comments; lewd, sexual actions. And then that aggressive tick, the threats: “If you tell anyone I’ll have you fired.” Yes, 2016: The year we realized Things Are NOT Really Getting Better For Women.
Which is why it’s time for all of us to check those dangerous assumptions that blame the victim and cause women serious harm.
We’re here to help expel the biggest (wrong) assumptions about sexual harassment in the workplace. And: If you’ve been hurt by workplace sexual harassment, contact us below.
The “Strong Woman” Myth
Similar to the myth that women will succeed at work if they just lean in hard enough (not. true.), there’s this completely maddening myth widely circulated in the media that goes something like: “Strong women don’t get sexually harassed at work; strong women stand up for themselves at work, and so they are protected.” We wish. Instead, it’s well-established that strong women are in fact one of the most at-risk target groups of sexual harassment in the workplace.
It’s pretty simple. Sexual harassment and violence against women are very often power plays. And guess who is the most threatening of all to men interested in exerting their power and dominance? You got it — Strong. Women. The kind of women that take on new, previously male-dominated industries; the kind of women that (how dare they!) take on more work and leadership positions.
The “Weak Woman” Myth
Or: Because blaming women for their life circumstances is always a good idea.
Leave it to classic gender discrimination to pit women against two polar opposites: You’re either a strong woman or a weak woman, and both roles are blamed for whatever does or doesn’t happen to you (instead of, say, blaming the perpetrator).
Sexual harassment at work does tend to peak in service, retail and tip-based industries that often involve a supervisor typically tasked with a “keep the cost down” objective that all too often translates into “out of sight, out of mind.”
Cue to: The devastating choice of: 1) Do I do what sick, vile thing he’s asking of me, keep my job and keep food on the table for my kids? 2) Do I leave a job I’ve worked hard for, a career I’ve aspired to, because of what he’s doing to me?
We don’t think these are choices that are exclusive to “quote” weak women. They’re not even choices. And yet this is asked of women every day, from the lowest wage to the highest salary, in 2016.
The “It’s Part of the Job” Myth
You get where this is going. Some people will believe anything — including that women who dare to participate in previously male-dominated fields “are asking for it” or should become accustomed to workplace sexual harassment, because “that’s just the way it is.” Really??
The Problem With Blaming the Victim.
Only a woman could be blamed for a man’s wrongs. Repeat After Us: When sexual harassment happens at work, it happens because it can. Because some (very few) men in positions of power or coworkers are predators that take advantage of their power and/or their ability to get away with it, because they can. There has never been a case where a woman was sexually harassed because she was beautiful or “asking for it.” Again, we need to start placing blaming on the perpetrator, not the victim.
Is one thing getting in the way? Our own tendency to second guess ourselves or overlook our instincts. As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.” If you’ve been sexually harassed at work, This is Not Your Problem to Fix Alone and This is Not Your Fault. Just imagine: If you take away the suit, or the managerial position, or what have you, then what are you looking at? A creep, a predator, someone who has taken advantage of their power in order to keep you down, humiliated or “in your place.” These issues go deep. And it’s not up to you to fix them on your own.
What we do need from you? To ask for help. To stand up when you’ve been hurt. And to please, finally, please, stop blaming the victim. Because those actions aren’t on her. Not to mention the fact that sexual harassment at work can and does happen to all types of women, every type of woman you can imagine, holding every type of job.
On Not Speaking Up.
First, there’s the fact that men who objectify women are more likely to become perpetrators of sexual violence. If you’ve experienced sexual harassment at work, let’s not pretend this was the first or only instance, or that he’ll somehow stop on his own — the bigger picture shows that more often than not what you experienced was just the beginning, and he will likely be able to keep on hurting women until he’s called out.
Second, let’s consider the numbers. According to the National Council for Research on Women, women who experience sexual harassment are more than nine times more likely than men to quit their jobs, five times more likely to transfer and three times more likely to lose their jobs. If you’ve been hurt by workplace sexual harassment, there’s a whole lot of other women hurting that you could help by standing up for it.
Third, we understand why you may want to stay quiet — the fear of repercussions. That’s why women have Title VII. It FORBIDS most employers from retaliating against you for speaking out or filing a charge of harassment. Don’t believe it? Contact us to learn how you may be able to stand up against workplace sexual harassment — and protect yourself from retaliation in the process.