There has been an uprise in the number of women who have started to speak out about being sexually harassed in their workplace. Workplace sexual harassment is one of the most difficult issues to talk about and for women to step up and take action. These victims are so often put into a position of being afraid of damaging their careers or staying quiet and moving on for the sake of their jobs. Women are constantly afraid of losing their jobs if they dare to speak up and accuse the person who is sexually harassing them.
Taylor Swift is one of the many female celebrity stars who are standing up in hopes to help inspire women all over the world to stand up for themselves in the workplace. DJ David Mueller sued Taylor Swift for 3 million dollars for defamation in which cost him his career. Taylor Swift countersued for just $1 for assault and battery. Taylor Swift claims to sue David Mueller for just $1 to prove a point. After having reached a unanimous verdict that Taylor Swift’s accusations towards Denver radio DJ David Muller were the truth, Taylor’s team called her court victory a win for all women. For Taylor, it wasn’t about the amount of money she could gain from this experience but to set the principle that women can say no and stand up to predatory men in the workplace, no matter what it takes.
A lot of people are questioning why, after so many years, hundreds of women are finally coming forward to report sexual harassment that has happened in their workplace. There are a significant amount of factors that make women feel like they need to keep quiet. The main factor among all other reasons is money. They fear losing their ability to make a living and we shouldn’t be quick to judge them for this decision. It’s easy to say, when you aren’t faced with this type of situation, “I would tell”. But what if standing up to the predator meant a loss of income you desperately needed? What if it meant losing your position in a career where the field of career was already hard to succeed as a woman?
Before human resources became a tool of protection for women, they felt as if they had no other option when facing these types of situations at a workplace. One has to take into serious consideration the power of the person making the demands against the person they are accusing. Usually it is a very successful person of high power. A young woman at a low-income level job may feel vulnerable to the consequences of reporting the perpetrator.
The women who keep the quiet feel as if they had no choice. These women are often seen carrying a piece guilt with them for not “doing” something or “saying” something. It’s hard for those who have never experienced being sexually harassed by another co-worker in the workplace to understand the effect it has on the woman, psychologically and emotionally. Proving the behavior often comes down to who said what in the situation when reporting sexual harassment, the typical he said, she said. The self-anger at being a victim. The shame in which everyone starts to think about when staying silent makes you feel guilty. Many reports being frozen, disbelieving what they are experiencing, and not having the tools to respond back quickly in their defense to stop them from continuing any further and from continuing these actions on them or onto someone else.
This rise of accusations these women are making are unbelievable, yet it’s about time an enormous light is being brought upon this issue. The fact that many high-profile men such as in the office, movie industry, and large corporations, are losing their jobs is justice for the behavior that has gone unchecked and unpunished for too long.
For many women, to work is to put up with a variety of things, because you know that there is a possibility of there being a bump in the road, standing in the path of your paycheck can be a male manager or influential co-worker willing to take advantage of his position. Being a woman in desperate need to keep that good income every month is intimidating, they can make you feel so financially vulnerable that you just keep quiet.
The reason for this is that just as with so many other forms of harassment and assault, there is the factor of victim-blaming. When workplace harassment hits the news, people are quick to react by asking why victims don’t simply stand up for themselves or firmly put their assailant in his or her place? This attitude completely fails to take into account the power of many workplace harassment cases; the vulnerability that many working victims feel of fearing losing one’s job or worsening of the situation if nothing is done after reporting the harassment. Most likely at a time when employment is hard to find and the public’s attitude towards victims is usually unsympathetic. In some cases, even if some people are able to stand up for themselves in a case where they are being sexually harassed in their workplace, the point is that nobody should have to because these are serious offenses, protected by the law that no working woman should go through.
It’s about time to start taking workplace sexual harassment very seriously. It has to start off with learning to listen to victims, and learning to place the blame firmly where it belongs and at that exact time when it happens with the perpetrator.
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