Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual conduct that mostly happens in the workplace. Regardless of the place where that harassment happens, an intimidating and hostile environment is created, making the victims uncomfortable. The problem has been facing society for a long time hence calling for various researches being directed toward to formulation of policies and measures that help in the identification and solving the problem (Lim and Lilia 482-483). Men and women experience sexual harassment in different ways. However, women are more affected with attempts to report the mistreatment to the relevant authorities resulting in more tragedies such as risking losing the job and suffering from humiliation (Zippel 23-25).
Researchers have conducted studies to identify the various types of sexual harassment (Harned et al. 173-174). Gender harassment occurs when generalized forms of sexist statements, as well as behavior, are conveyed, resulting in the attitudes of the victims being degraded. Seductive behavior is another form of sexual harassment that entails inappropriate or unwanted or inappropriate behaviors. In this category lies persistent letters, unwanted sexual invitations, and insistent requests for drinks and dinner. Sexual bribery and coercion are the other forms of sexual harassment, with the latter being associated with threats of termination and withholding promotions in the work environment (Begany and Michael 118-119).
Sexual harassment has various effects on the victims affecting their psychological health, development, and overall well-being. Because of these effects, the affected parties prefer seeking long-term solutions such as changing their jobs, academic programs, and even goals in careers. Researches done on the immediate effects of sexual harassment have revealed that victims undergo shock, depression, stigmas, guilt, and sexually related complications (Christmas 364-365; Avina and William 70). In the work environments, victims get a decreased satisfaction in jobs, change career goals and even prefer to be absent because of the profound impacts of the abuse (Raver and Michele 399).
Policies aimed at reducing this form of harassment have emphasized the importance of a number of measures to be undertaken in the response process. Because of the differences in the nature of the sexual harassment, various personnel have been called upon to answer abuse calls. Such people include women groups, officers in charge of affirmative actions, and the human resource professionals in the working environment. Besides, victims are advised not to ignore the harassment cases because it cannot be a long-term solution, especially when considering the psychological effects. The enactment of various sexual harassment laws that charge the managers who do not report or effectively handle the harassment issues in the workplace has reduced the incidences of unwelcome sexual advancements (Dobbin and Erin 1230-1233).
There are a number of immediate measures to be undertaken in case of harassment. Victims are advised to take a firm stand and say no to the harasser and thereafter draft a letter to warn about the behavior (Marshall 120). A copy of the letter should be kept. It is also important to keep a good record of the day the harassment happened, the time and place as well some of the witnesses that might be used in case an investigation is to be conducted. Victims should also share their harassment cases with friends who are understanding and bold enough to report to the relevant authority. Organizations should also have a well-outlined procedure to follow in order to have the harassers executed and get the necessary help and support for the recovery process (Bergman et al. 240).
Avina, Claudia, and William O’donohue. “Sexual Harassment and PTSD: Is Sexual Harassment Diagnosable Trauma?.” Journal of Traumatic Stress, vol.15, no.1, 2002, p. 70
Begany, Joseph J., and Michael A. Milburn. “Psychological Predictors of Sexual Harassment: Authoritarianism, Hostile Sexism, and Rape Myths.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity, vol.3, no.2, 2002, pp. 118-119.
Bergman, Mindy E., et al. “The (un) Reasonableness of Reporting: Antecedents and Consequences of Reporting Sexual Harassment.” Journal of Applied Psychology, vol.87, no.2, 2002, p. 240.
Christmas, Kate. “Workplace Abuse: Finding Solutions.” Nursing Economics, vol.25, no.6, 2007, p. 365.
Dobbin, Frank, and Erin L. Kelly. “How to Stop Harassment: Professional Construction of Legal Compliance in Organizations.” American Journal of Sociology, vol.112, no.4, 2007, pp. 1230-1233.
Harned, Melanie S., et al. “Sexual Assault and other Types of Sexual Harassment by Workplace Personnel: A Comparison of Antecedents and Consequences.” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, vol.7, no.2, 2002, p. 174.
Lim, Sandy, and Lilia M. Cortina. “Interpersonal Mistreatment in the Workplace: The Interface and Impact of General Incivility and Sexual Harassment.” Journal of Applied Psychology, vol.90, no.3, 2005, p. 483.
Marshall, Anna‐Maria. “Idle Rights: Employees’ Rights Consciousness and the Construction of Sexual Harassment Policies.” Law & Society Review, vol.39, no.1, 2005, pp. 83-124.
Raver, Jana L., and Michele J. Gelfand. “Beyond the Individual Victim: Linking Sexual Harassment, Team Processes, and Team Performance.” Academy of Management Journal, vol.48, no.3, 2005, p. 399.
Zippel, Kathrin S. The Politics of Sexual Harassment: A Comparative Study of the United States, the European Union, and Germany. Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 23-25.