Worrying About Sexual Harassment Doesn't Make it Go Away | FreeSexualHarassmentTraining.com

Worrying About Sexual Harassment Doesn't Make it Go Away

Sexual harassment has long been a problem in the United States. And, it’s not just something that happens in male-dominated industries, as people often assume. It seems that everyday, another victim comes forward to share a story about being subjected to unwanted sexual attention and abuse.

This is simply unacceptable, which is why in more recent years a growing awareness of this problem has risen.

Movements like #MeToo and “Toxic Masculinity” have become popular mainstream outlets for awareness. But as human resource professionals and leaders, are we effectively bringing this problem to the forefront? Are we whispering about it in the breakroom, but then too afraid to bring the subject up in employee meetings?  This has to change, because it’s a problem that won’t go away on its own.

How often are workers claiming sexual harassment?

A recent report was published by Marketplace-Edison Research which highlighted the most recent statistics. 21 percent of U.S. working adults have experienced sexual harassment from either a colleague or customer. With a large portion of Americans shifting to work in the gig economy, 30 percent say they’ve been the victim of sexual harassment.

Taking Responsibility for Stopping Sexual Harassment

Corporate leaders of every industry have the ultimate responsibility to bring up the problem of sexual harassment and the repercussions it has on society as a whole. They have the biggest influence over society and politics. This is at least the start of the dialogue and it’s the reason for the passage of recent laws, such as SB-1343 in California. Other states are following suit, updating old laws on sexual harassment and enacting stiffer requirements for workplace training.

With the increasingly positive direction things are headed, there are still conflicting ideas out there about how sexual harassment is defined, how a victim should respond, and what the investigation process entails. Much of this falls on the shoulders of human resources professionals who are generally the most knowledgeable about such processes. Yet, ask any HR manager what he or she thinks about dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace and watch them quickly change the subject. There is a fear associated with sexual harassment, and it’s the kind of subject that keeps many HR folks awake at night in worry.

Uncovering the Fear of Dealing with Sexual Harassment

Where does this anxiety stem from? In many sexual harassment cases, there is a person of power misusing their status to try and obtain sexual favors from a subordinate. This can be a very intimidating situation for anyone, especially if it involves a member of the executive team. Imagine hearing that your boss acted inappropriately around a member of your staff?

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