Why are women coming forward now, after so many years, to report Sexual Harassment?
The #MeToo movement has taken hold and people are finally talking, listening and taking action. The movement has given many people, women specifically, the courage to come forward.
We often hear the question, “why didn’t they come forward in the past?” Of course the answer is that they were afraid of losing their job and being black-balled out of their career choice.
The examples in the news are mostly of high powered male bosses or stars that could have affected the careers of the women who had been working toward coveted positions for years. Imagine the frustration of having a plum role or high-level media position offered only to have it seem conditional on inappropriate sexual behaviour.
It’s not just women who are coming forward now with complaints of sexual harassment, there are men who have been harassed by stars too who did not come forward until the #MeToo movement because of concerns about their careers and income.
While most working women are not meeting with high-level media moguls, there are many women who are the sole income earner or part of a two-person income family that can not survive without her job. If the culture is such that the perpetrator is more likely to be believed than the victim, many victims feel they can’t risk their jobs by reporting incidents.
All you have to do is watch the Clarence Thomas hearings when Anita Hill came forward to claim Sexual Harassment. She was on national television sharing her story in detail for the whole world and Clarence Thomas was still confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. Many people saw the embarrassment she went through and did not want to put themselves or their families through that ordeal.
Hopefully, the #MeToo movement will finally change the culture so victims will have more power and will not have to risk their livelihoods to protect themselves from unwanted sexual advances.
See tips on sexual harassment training for more information on this topic. The tips highlight training and what policies should say and what companies and agencies should do to create a harassment-free workplace that treats everyone with respect.
Two Quick Tips Taken From Recent Headlines:
- Inviting a woman to your home by herself is probably not an appropriate way to conduct professional meetings.
- Having a secret button to lock your office door behind someone from your desk is obviously not an appropriate way to conduct professional meetings.
Contact Randi Frank if you’re not sure your policy or training is up to date.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and Policy Development.