Sexual
harassment seems to be the topic of the year. Whenever we turn on our
television to the news, we’re hearing about women being sexually harassed by
men in high power. There is approximately 40 to 70% of women who says they were
sexually harassed while being at work. That percentage is extremely high. In
just this year alone, there has been more then one hundred women who have came
out, and alleged that they have been sexually assaulted ten, fifteen or even 20
years ago. Now the question is, why don’t these victims of sexual harassment
come forward sooner?

Well,
before we get into the specific reasons why victims of sexual harassment don’t
come forward sooner, let’s briefly talk about exactly what sexual harassment
is. According to the Webster dictionary, sexual harassment is defined as;
harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or
social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene
remarks. To be more specific, behaviors that fall into the sexual harassment
category includes; invasion of privacy, sexual jokes, exposing body parts,
inappropriate touching, being offered a benefit for a sexual favor and etc.

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To
begin with, one of the main reasons why women have a tendency to not come forward with sexual harassment claims is
because of shame. Abuse, especially sexual abuse is often humiliating and dehumanizing,
so as a result, the victims feel ashamed.
In today’s society, unfortunately, women
who are sexually assaulted are usually blamed for being sexually assaulted. Not
only are they blamed by others, but they even blame themselves. For example,
Lee Corfman, who recently reported that she was sexually assaulted by Roy Moor
when she was 14 years old states, “I felt responsible. I thought I was
bad.”  That statement from Lee Corfman is
very common for sexually harassed victims. Shame is a feeling deep inside us
which causes us to feel exposed and unworthy. When we feel ashamed, we have a
tendency to want to hide and be invisible, and that is exactly why victims of
sexual harassment don’t usually come out right away.

 

 Victims of sexual harassment also have a big
fear of the consequences. They are afraid they’ll lose their jobs, fear that
they’ll lose their credibility, that they’ll be branded a troublemaker and the list goes on and on.
According to huffing post, sexual misconduct is the most under-reported crime because of the belief that
women make up these stories for attention. I’m sure there are a few women who actually make up stories like this, but
not all women should be labeled a lier because of it. One of the biggest fears
that sexually harassed victims have, is fear for their safety. Sexual harassers
often threaten either the lives, jobs or careers of the victims. Fear prevents
the sexually harassed victim from speaking out against the harasser.

In
conclusion, sexually harassed victims don’t usually come forward as a result of
lack of information. They don’t really understand what sexual harassment is,
they don’t recognize sexual harassment as a real threat, and they don’t
understand what the consequences may be
for them if they don’t reach out for help or report the incident. What some
women don’t know is that sexual harassment can cause anxiety, PTSD, loss of self-esteem, and many more effects. As a matter
of fact, according to studies, up to 15 to 1,1,000 females reported they made
suicidal attempts after suffering from some type of sexual harassment.