Unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances towards a person is called sexual harassment. Sexual harassment victims are mostly women. A recent national poll stated that almost 1/3rd of the women have been sexually harassed in their workplace. But in some cases, even men get harassed in their workplace. In both these cases, the harasser is almost always a man in a higher position in the organization or a peer and co-worker. Even as there are a lot of established rules put forward to curb sexual harassment, the number of registered cases have never gone down over the years.
Speaking of how sexual harassment looks like,
” If it is unwanted, it is harassment. ”
Any gesture from a co-worker or a higher authority, which makes you feel uncomfortable and looks offensive can be harassment. Sexual harassment will include : sexual comments, sexually implicit questions, sexually suggestive sounds and gestures, inappropriate touching or massaging, actual or attempted rape, sexual assault etc. There are the moves and gestures that are out rightly stated to be sexual.
Apart from there few of the victims are often threatened if the harasser is a superior in the workplace. Unwanted pressure is being applied on the victim for sexual favors. Any unwanted letter, phone calls, mails or messages that in any form may display a sexual nature is also offensive and have to be reported by the victim.
The awareness about the company policies relating to sexual harassment must be made more transparent and reachable to the employees of the organization. A survey states that almost 66.6 % of the employees are not aware of any of the policies and almost half the number of employees did not know whom to contact or which department to file a complaint with in case of being sexually harassed. Awareness programs and workshops need to be conducted to the employees.
A person’s full contribution towards the organization can be put forward only when he / she is in a comfortable place. Sexual harassment makes workplace a nightmare for the victims. They face physical as well as mental agony. Most of the victims are threatened about losing their job which prevents them from legally filling a complaint. This needs to be changed and the workers need to be taken out of the ignorance zone.
Business, trade, banking, finance, sales, hospitality, marketing and teaching are the fields that face a major share in sexual harassment cases. Special care must be taken and awareness programs need to be organized especially in these fields and workers must be pointed out what is right and what is wrong. Most harassment occurs at the level of executives in the workplace. This comes as a set back as the people who must take charge to bring a change itself behave in adverse ways. If you are facing harassment in your workplace, seek advice, talk to people and decide on the course of action that is best for you to take up.
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