Denver, CO- Despite laws and training, sexual harassment is still an issue many people face in Denver face in their workplace. Approximately 4 out of 10 women are subjected to sexual harassment, and though the behavior is prevalent, many people have misconceptions about sexual harassment.
Misconception: Some ask for harassment because of the way they dress or carry themselves. They are sending “signals.”
The Truth: Sexual harassment has numerous negative effects on the victim. They often feel ashamed, humiliated and suffer from depression, so nobody is asking to be harassed because of the way they are dressed.
Some wonder what makes a person sexually harass another but that is not an easy question to answer. Psychologists agree that most sexual harassment, just like sexual assault, is more about asserting power and control than it is about flirtation or attraction, especially if it is ongoing and pervasive. Attraction may be a small component of sexual harassment, but it is not the main motivating factor and the effects this misconduct has on the victim and the workplace can be devastating.
Misconception: Only women are sexually harassed in the workplace.
The Truth: Women may be the object of sexual harassment more frequently than men, but it is an issue that affects both sexes. In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 30,056 complaints of sexual discrimination which includes incidents of sexual harassment; of those complaints roughly 16 percent were filed by men.
Misconception: The victims are exaggerating; sexual harassment is harmless flirting.
The Truth: Victims of sexual harassment do not typically exaggerate or mistake this behavior for flirting. People who face sexual harassment often leave their jobs or schools to get away from the perpetrator.
Misconception: Most claims of sexual harassment are false.
The Truth: Many people have the misguided notion that people who complain about sexual harassment are trying to fleece their employer for cash; they are looking for a big payout. This is not true in most instances; the victims gain little monetarily in comparison to the emotional distress caused by the misconduct and the subsequent harassment investigation. Individuals who file formal sexual harassment complaints are often subjected to retaliation and frequently lose their jobs.
Misconception: Ignoring harassment will make it stop.
The Truth: Ignoring harassment won’t make it stop, in some cases it may even make it worse. A recent study found that for 29 percent of respondents, ignoring the harassment did make it stop eventually, but confronting the harasser was more effective. The same study found that 61 percent of respondents were able to make the harassment stop after directly confronting the person who is harassing them.
Misconception: Employers will take their concerns seriously and punish the offender.
The Truth: All the complaints of sexual harassment the EEOC receives are because an employer has failed to protect the victim. By law, sexual harassment must be repeated, pervasive and ignored by an employer before a victim can even seek the help of a Denver sexual harassment attorney or the EEOC. The victim cannot file a civil suit unless they notified their employer of the harassment and they took no action.