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Reasons workplace sexual harassment may go unreported

Workplace harassment may manifest in various forms, but one of the most despicable is sexual harassment. This may happen when an employee experiences unwanted advances or actions of a sexual nature from colleagues, supervisors or even customers.

While the emotional toll of sexual harassment can be profound, not all incidents get reported. This may be attributed to several reasons, including the following.

Fear of retaliation

Victims of workplace sexual harassment may shy away from reporting out of fear that their harasser or others within the company may retaliate against them. They might worry about losing their job, being demoted, facing hostile treatment or having their professional reputation tarnished. This fear can be particularly strong if the harasser holds a position of power or influence within the organization, making victims feel powerless and vulnerable to further mistreatment if they speak out.

Lack of confidence in reporting systems

If a victim of sexual harassment feels that their report may not be taken seriously or that the reporting systems in place are ineffective, they may choose not to report the harassment. This lack of confidence can result from past experiences where complaints were dismissed or mishandled by HR or management. Without trust in the reporting process, victims may believe that coming forward will only lead to more frustration and disappointment, further discouraging them from seeking help or support.

Internalized feelings of shame or guilt

Victims of sexual harassment may internalize feelings of shame or guilt, believing that they somehow brought the harassment upon themselves or that they should have been able to prevent it. This internalized blame can prevent victims from seeking help or support and may contribute to their decision not to report the harassment.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is treated very seriously in California and if you are a victim, consider seeking legal means of recourse to hold the perpetrators and the company accountable for their actions and to pursue justice for the harm you have endured.

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