Why are Sexual Harassment Victims Afraid to Report Harassment?

Sexual harassment can include a wide range of behaviors, including inappropriate touching, the display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, sexual joking, obscene comments, indecent exposure, sexual flirtations, advances or propositions, continued or repeated language of a sexual nature, rape, sexually charged emails, being offered employment benefits for sexual favors, being denied a promotion because you refused to have sex.

In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received approximately 7,500 charges of sexual harassment in the workplace.  The precise number of people who have actually gone through sexual harassment is realistically much higher; but because most victims have chosen not to report the incidents of misconduct, the figures will always be amiss.

Because workplace sexual harassment continues to be a tremendous obstacle in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey, that hinders an employee from fully performing his or her job functions, and because sexual harassment causes mental distress and other health problems for the victim, it is recognized as a worldwide problem; one that needs to be addressed and resolved. So, if we know these things are true about sexual harassment, then why would any individual want to mask the wrongdoings of another person who intentionally sets out to cause him or her problems in the workplace?

Why would a victim choose not to report Sexual Harassment?  Here are a few reasons why:

Reason #1.  The victim would be made to feel that he/she were at fault:

  • Several victims don’t report sexual harassment because they believe that many would make them feel as though they were to blame for the sexual advances that they have experienced.  However, they could not be more wrong. Sexual harassers are nothing more than sexual abusers who prey on innocent people randomly and through no fault of the victim.

Reason #2.  Fear of Retaliation:

  • Many victims don’t come forward to complain about sexual harassment for fear that they may lose their job or experience another form of retaliation by their employer.  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does not allow for any company to retaliate against an individual who files a charge, testifies or assists in the investigation process of the complaint.   In short, employers are prohibited from taking any actions against anyone who is involved in sexual harassment or discrimination grievance process.

Reason #3.  They don’t recognize that it’s sexual harassment:

  • This would probably be at the top of the list of why most people don’t report or complain about sexual harassment.  While sexual harassment does include unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favors, it also includes offensive remarks or jokes about a person’s race, age, gender, or disability to name a few.  Furthermore, many people may not be aware that the victim or harasser can be a woman or a man, or the victim or harasser can also be of the same sex. Keep in mind that the harasser can be a coworker, supervisor, supervisor from another area, or a non-employee of the company like a customer or a client.  In the workplace, sexual harassment can also include pornographic pictures, graphic images of men and/or women, naked or semi-naked.  Remember if it feels uncomfortable or creates a hostile workplace, then it’s worth documenting the misconduct and putting in a complaint to the proper department.  It’s imperative that you seek the advice of an NYC sexual harassment and employment law attorney.

You are entitled to work in a peaceful environment free from hostility and daily wrongdoings.  Take action to stop workplace sexual harassment immediately.

For a FREE Consultation in NY, NJ & PA schedule a free consultation with a sexual harassment attorney at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami. You can reach us online or by calling 877-469-5297.  Our NYC employment law attorneys handle cases involving sexual harassment, discrimination, and other employment-related lawsuits. We serve clients throughout New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. We also have offices in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami to serve you.