When it comes to employee relationships, it’s important to be able to gauge just what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in the workplace. This is especially since workplace environments are vastly different from the environment in clubs, school, or even at home.
Unfortunately, instances of harassment, particularly sexual harassment and sexual violence, are still common in the workplace and have been affecting a lot of people, especially women, worldwide. Knowing what to do if you’re sexually assaulted is an integral part of ensuring your safety in the workplace.
Statistics Show Violence is Common
Statistics from UN Women show that 35 percent of women globally have actually experienced some form of violence, sexual and/or physical. Quite alarming is the reality that in some national studies, 70 percent of women have reported experiencing the same thing.
Violence can actually impact a woman’s life in vastly different ways, possibly leading them to acquire HIV, experience depression, or even decide to have an abortion. If you’re at work, harassment protection should be something you’re aware of.
What to Do if You’re Assaulted
Here’s a guide on what to do if you’re sexually assaulted:
- Speak up and call the person out for his or her actions. Unfortunately, in workplaces that appear to have a hostile setting, offenders may not even realize that they’ve offended another person or harassed them. Calling the offender out on his or her action and explicitly saying you’re offended by what was done may stop it from happening again. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then you may have to speak louder and make sure other people are aware of the situation as well. If you don’t think the person has acknowledged your feelings and he or she has continued with the offensive actions, then you may have the harasser put on notice.
- Call the authorities immediately. If physical violence was involved in the matter, don’t hesitate to call the police to have the person arrested for sexual assault. If you have your clothes with you during the assault, keep them until the police come so they can investigate. Sometimes the DNA of the assaulter can be found in your clothes, and this information can be used to help you build a case.
- Follow procedures and report them to the necessary people. Sometimes, when talking to the offender doesn’t work, company policies must be followed. Some companies actually have detailed steps on how to deal with sexual assault and harassment, so you have to follow them. Make sure you follow them to the letter, especially when it comes to paperwork and approaching the right staff. If your company doesn’t have a procedure, bring the matter to your immediate manager. If your supervisor is the offender, bring the topic to their immediate manager. If you’re in a hostile work environment, it’s especially important that your company management knows about the harassment that happened to you.
- Reach out to support networks and agencies. If your problem hasn’t been resolved on the company’s end, perhaps you can seek the aid of support networks and agencies to file administrative charges. These agencies, such as civil rights and human rights enforcement groups, can help resolve the problem by investigating the issue and talking with your employers. If they aren’t able to solve this, they may have the option of giving you the right to sue. This is a recommendation of sorts that you should approach a lawyer on the matter.
Use the Tools Above
When it comes to sexual harassment at work, it’s important to understand that you play a big role in ensuring the workplace is aware of the behavior that occurred so your employers can take better measures in protecting you and other employees. This might be difficult, considering how traumatic the event was, but remember that you have a lot of options available to help you and assist you in these conflicts. Click here if you want to learn more about the legal aspects of this situation.