Can you remember those sexual pictures and videos that you were repeatedly tagged in on Facebook? Or when your secretary kept deliberately dropping items so as to flaunt her figure? There was that one time the lecturer called you into an office asking about your sex life; when you kept pressuring that disinterested lady for a date, or that time you kept surprising Mr. Bob with unwanted visits despite his disinterest; the time you spread rumors about sex you had with that teen because she rebuffed your advances; and that silly game of cat calling you with your friends when the ladies were passing by the hostels. Those were the times you sexually harassed others or you were sexually harassed. In this post titled “sexual harassment in the workplace”, we will look into how to deal with the issue.
Sexual harassment is an “unwanted sexual attention”. A more detailed definition is “a deliberate, repeated, or unwelcome sexual verbal comments, gestures or physical contact of a sexual nature”. Though, sexual harassment in the workplace depends on how the person receiving the behavior perceives it, I believe one can be sexually harassed without seeing it for what it is.
It is known that sexual harassment thrives in the workplace but many do not report offenders to authorities for reasons like;
- It can be seen as a sign of weakness (when a man reports that he has been sexually harassed by a woman),
- The target believes that the harassment will stop,
- The offender has a good reputation,
- The target has been known in the past to welcome such advances so he/she would not be believed,
- Target blaming also known as victim blaming,
- The forms of sexual harassment in the workplace have been subtle and non-violent, and the target fears for his/her life and the lives of loved ones.
How to deal with sexual harassment
- Deal with the matter spiritually and physically.
- The government must enforce strict laws against any form of sexual harassment.
- Be very professional at work even if you are single.
- Talk about it, remember that you are not the victim, the perpetrator is.
- Do not feed it. Be extremely civil with the wrong doer.
- Inform human resource in writing and loved ones.
- Avoid staying alone with offenders; do your job well with no blemish and limit any sort of contact with such a person except official ones.
- Employers must develop and enforce rules that do not create a comfortable environment for sexual harassment to take place.
- Be your brother’s keeper. When you see a colleague been harassed, speak up and defend the person. Don’t just look the other way.
- Get proof of such acts. Most phones have call recorder.
- We all have a social responsibility to stop the objectification of women by stopping adverts, songs, movies or any other art objectifying women.
- Have prepared answers when asked for sexual favors like; “there is nothing I want from my partner, whom I am faithful to that I don’t get” or you can pretend that it’s a conversation which took place between you and another person and the perpetrator is replying by saying this, “so you heard?” I can’t believe that he or she would try to proposition me for such? How could someone do that? Don’t you find it disgusting too?
- Parents and guardians need to teach women to value themselves. Men should also be taught how to treat women properly. Wards should also be taught how to stand up for themselves from a tender age.
- Ladies when you are approached for a date or a relationship, if you are undecided, politely let your suitor know while you take your time to think about it. In the mean time, do not accept gifts or favor, or let the man feel comfortable around you. After you have made your decision, if it’s in the negative, inform him and stand by it.
These are possible means of dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace. Considering this write-up, what is your decision here? Say something by using the comment box.