It seems like today’s media climate, whether one is a Democrat, Independent, or Republican, is reflecting some out-dated viewpoints that favor a cultural viewpoint about dominance. Our political scandals involve apologizing for sexual harassment as “locker room talk” and hosts of media CEOs faced litigation for sexual harassment. When political leadership and their legal teams justify this disrespectful behavior to women (“most reported victims are women,” according to The Houston Chronicle), they create an attitude that this type of behavior is normal.
When behavior seems normalized, the general populace becomes desensitized to sexual harassment. Not only do women face pay inequity in the workplace, but their labor is further devalued when their superiors, or co-workers exploit their sexuality. The workplace is an environment where women have value for their mental capacity, not as some sort of sexual objects participating in the economy for sport. To view women as such and, furthermore, encroach upon them sexually without permission, invalidates them as human beings. It also causes psychological and physical trauma.
Employees don’t work to become the playthings of abusers, rather they are independent entities. They also have families to support, bills to pay, and other obligations, but too often those in leadership roles pretend this isn’t the case. In fact, those accused of sexual harassment “don’t see” their victims; they only think of selfishly violating someone to meet their needs. They often pretend that their position or power makes them “better than” someone else. Those accused of sexual harassment usually attempt to first speak poorly about the mental health of the woman involved.
But, that’s not going to work, anymore. There are so many women who experience sexual assault that it is ludicrous to deny its existence or problem. The sheer prevalence and improper response to it within the workplace is disturbing. This isn’t a country of mentally ill women (and men) hallucinating these experiences in such high numbers. On the contrary, it is very real, and very damaging.
Prevalence of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in 2017
In a promotion connected to Crossing the Line, ABC News released a story chronicling women who faced sexual harassment.
Reporter Kaitlyn Folmer noted, ABC News gathered 10 women from 10 different industries who opened up about being sexually harassed. To protect the women, only their first names were used…. When asked how many of the participants have been sexually harassed over the course of their career, all 10 women raised their hands.
In other words, in every profession consulted, every woman asked admitted that they experienced sexual assault or harassment within the workplace! The abusers fit no particular industry profile, nor did the victims!
If you think that this group of women got pooled for the purpose of promoting a show, several other sources confirm its high occurrence. AWARE, The Association of Women for Action and Research, conducted a study of 500 individuals and found 54% of them experienced workplace harassment. In a recent article, Huffington Post cited a survey conducted in Cosmopolitan that revealed 1 in 3 respondents were victims of sexual harassment. Sexual assault attacks are ridiculously high, but not one person deserves it. Furthermore, every victim counts and suffers innumerable pain.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is an unwanted gesture, comment, touch, joke, or any number of behaviors that make an employee uncomfortable. Sexual harassment occurs online, offline, on work campuses, off work campuses, etc. With the pervasiveness of this type of demeaning conduct, one would think that there’s a variety of information about this topic at the office and how to get help. According to AWARE, that’s not the case, instead 66.6% of respondents don’t know who to consult and employer response is key. Employers have a duty to create policies prohibiting and penalizing sexual harassment as part of their agreement to provide safe workplace environs. However, they often leave these policies vague to make holding them liable more difficult.
How to Get Help Today
For all those who suffer from toxic HR departments that turn their eyes to harassment or when it’s high-ranking employees (like the Uber scandal), Aiman-Smith & Marcy is here to protect you and redress your complaint. We protect individuals against business entities and large corporations that don’t reward people for their hard-work, and don’t stand up for them when it counts (like with sexual harassment). Our partners and firm lawyers are happy to fight for you.