Denver, CO- Sexual harassment is common enough that many people are just willing to let it slide. They decide to let it go on because they don’t want to cause problems for themselves or they don’t want to risk losing their jobs. But not reporting sexual harassment whether it is the workplace or on a college campus can have on detrimental effects on the victim’s health.
Sexual harassment can take many forms, sometimes it’s just a singular sexist comment, and off-color joke and a comment about how good someone looks. These one off incidents, though annoying, probably won’t have a long term effect on the target. However there are some harassment victims who are subjected to humiliation, unwanted advances, inappropriate touching and oft repeated lewd comments. For these victims, the harassment can take its toll on the targeted individual’s mental and physical health.
Increased blood pressure
In a 2008 study from Boston, 1,200 union employees were questioned about sexual harassment in the workplace and given a health exam. Researchers discovered that victims of sexual harassment, 23 percent in all, experienced elevated heart rates and other physiological effects such as stress which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Issues with Sleep
We’ve all had one of those nights when we keep replaying an event or repeatedly list the things we need to do when settle down to sleep. Sexual harassment can cause stress and anxiety for the victim and this affects their ability get a good night’s rest as they focus on the events. One sleepless night is too bad, but losing sleep night after night is very unhealthy.
A Canadian study from 2001, involving 4,000 participants showed women who experience sexual harassment were 1.6 times more likely to experience neck pain and other physical pain.
Sexual harassment can eat at a person’s self-esteem which can in turn lead to depression. Victims are often plagued with self-doubt that they carry with them long after the harassment has ended or they moved on to another job.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Victims of sexual harassment often exhibit symptoms of sexual harassment; they may relive the incidents in their head and avoid people and situations that remind them of the initial harassment. Women in the military who also experience sexual harassment are 4 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Not all workers or college students who are subjected to sexual harassment are affected the same way, but that doesn’t mean they should allow the harassment to persist. Even if they don’t notice or experience the negative health impact of sexual harassment, the victim should take action and report the behavior to their employer so discipline the harasser.
If your employer fails to address harassment, then the next step for the victim is to hire a sexual harassment attorney. With legal counsel, harassment victims can put an end to their abuse and seek compensation for their emotional distress and loss of wages if they were retaliated against.