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3 Reasons why employees don’t report sexual harassment

In the past year, staggering amounts of women have come forward claiming that they have been victims of sexual harassment while at work. But even with the growing number of victims stepping forward, three-quarters of women fail to report sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Here are some of the reasons why.

“I didn’t think anyone would believe me”

Many victims of sexual harassment don’t report a coworker’s inappropriate behavior because they don’t think people will believe them. When it comes time to make their case, they may not feel as if they can prove that the incident occurred and that reporting it wouldn’t resolve anything.

“I didn’t want to lose my job”

Victims can be hesitant to file a formal complaint after they’ve been harassed for fear that reporting the incident will damage their reputation.

Many victims also fear that their employer or coworkers will retaliate against them. They do not want to be seen as a troublemaker and will do anything to keep the peace. They may be afraid of losing their jobs, being demoted or getting a bad reference from their employer for future job opportunities.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal”

Another reason that sexual misconduct goes unreported is that the victim doesn’t think that the incident is severe enough to report. They may downplay the incident and feel as if it isn’t worth filing a complaint. The victim could also be unaware of what constitutes inappropriate conduct and might not feel like they have a strong case.

Perpetrators of sexual harassment will try to intimidate and manipulate their victims to save their reputation. But with more women coming forward every day and telling their stories, the stigma surrounding employees who report sexual misconduct may become a thing of the past.

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