Sexual Harassment Has Far-reaching Effects on the Victims

Boulder, CO-Sexual harassment is, unfortunately, a common problem in workplaces and on college campuses across the country. While the law protects people from this form of hostile behavior and employers typically have a no-tolerance policy, but sexual harassment is still a pervasive and prevalent problem.

One or two off-the-collar jokes or comments can be forgotten, but some harassment victims are subjected to constant sexually-charged comments about their bodies and solicitations for sex. The effects of sexual harassment can be far-reaching and impact the workplace as a whole along with the mental and physical health of the victim.

Depression is one of the most toxic effects of sexual harassment for a victim. A 2011 study from the University of Michigan found in a survey of 1,000 women in their 20s found that the depression they suffered from after they were sexually harassed was carried into their 30s, according to Live Science.

The victims of sexual harassment often turn their feelings of self-doubt into self-blame and they spiral downward into deep depression. If you have ever suffered from depression you know it can wreak havoc on your life and is very hard to crawl out of.

There are studies which link sexual harassment to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A 2009 study on the journal of Law and Human Behaviors survey of 450 victims of harassment found that they exhibited numerous signs of PTSD including reliving the trauma, suffering from insomnia and avoiding people. The survey also found that victims of sexual harassment were four times more likely to develop PTSD than women in combat.

Sexual harassment can also cause anxiety, low self-esteem, fatigue, powerlessness, shame and guilt. These victims may harbor anger for their harasser and can take that anger out on their friends, family and coworkers.

We are aware that out mental health has can have devastating effects of a person’s physical health. Some of those effects include increased blood pressure, insomnia and neck pain.

Co-workers are in the indirect victims of sexual harassment and feel the effects even though they may not be aware it happening to one of their peers. This misconduct can erode the morale of employees in a number of ways. Firstly, victims of sexual harassment dread going into work, they may be late to work or call in more frequently, forcing their coworkers to carry their weight.

Harassment victims often quit their jobs than confront the problem head –on. This can lead to a high turn-over which is not good for any business and employees who stay can become overburdened with a heavy work load.

Sexual harassment can also lead to retaliation for the harasser and an employer. Victims who report behavior can be punished in a number of ways and can even face being fired. Coworkers who stand by a harassment victim are sometimes also subjected to retaliation.

Although it may seem unlikely that sexual harassment will ever be eliminated from the workplace, knowing how it affects others may be enough impetus for harassers to think twice before they subject one of their coworkers to this behavior.