MYTHS and FACTS regarding SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Hey guys, just want to share this with all of you ...
(this is reprinted from “Advocating Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies” – United Nations Project for Disadvantaged Women (DAW), 1995)
MYTH: It is a compliment to women.
FACT: It is an unwanted, uninvited and unwelcome sexual conduct which consequence is the mental and emotional anguish arising from the offensive or intimidating sexual conduct of the perpetrator. It can never be regarded as a compliment to woman’s sexuality.
MYTH: Women may seem only offended at first, but they are really flattered by all the attention.
FACT: Sexual harassment thrives because of the belief that when women say no they actually mean yes (or silence means yes).
MYTH: Women invite the behavior by the way they dress, sit, laugh, or look at men.
FACT: Sexual harassment can happen to anyone. Women do not invite unwanted sexual conduct on themselves. The style of dressing, the manner of sitting, laughing or looking at men are all irrelevant.
MYTH: Women make up stories to get back at their male bosses.
FACT: It is hard for women-victims to come out in the open and report incidents of sexual harassment. Most cases of sexual harassment are not reported because of the stigma attached to the victims. It is most unlikely for victims to make up stories of sexual harassment when they know that their names and reputation will be dragged into public scrutiny.
MYTH: Men “cannot help themselves” when they are sexually attracted to women, they have to act.
FACT: Men are human beings, innately gifted with rational thinking. They can, therefore, control their sexual desires, or at the very least, they should be held responsible for the consequences of their behavior. To say that they could not control themselves is running away from responsibilities.
MYTH: If we take sexual harassment seriously, it will “chill” relations between men and women in the workplace.
FACT: Sexual harassment should be taken seriously because it is a serious problem which affects the whole work. If we can not treat women well, then the relationship between men and women is already strained on the outset.
MYTH: Management and government should not get involved in the issue of sexual harassment because it is a “private offense”.
FACT: Sexual harassment is not just an issue between the perpetrator and the victim. Sexual harassment poisons the workplace and the workers cannot be productive in a poisoned environment.
WHY WOMEN HESITATE OR REFUSE TO REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT
a) Fear of embarrassment, considering the sexual nature of the offense;
b) Fear of retaliation by supervisors and co-workers who may feel threatened by the report;
c) Fear of loss of jobs;
d) Fear that they will be blamed for having invited it because of their manner of dress, speech and actions;
e) Anxiety over the expected inconveniences and complexities of filing charges; and
f) Lack of awareness that sexual harassment is a power issue.