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Debunking myths about sexual harassment, pt. 2

Sexual harassment is a difficult problem to tackle because it involves complex human interactions that are difficult to break down and analyze after the fact. There are numerous factors that contribute to male and female interactions. As discussed in a prior article, there are several myths surrounding sexual harassment. This article will round out that list.

Women "ask" to be sexually harassed based on their clothing or behavior. This common myth rears its head every few months in the media. This is an obvious attempt to shift the blame for the perpetrator's behavior onto the victim. It also denigrates the perpetrator because it suggests that he lacks the ability to control his actions. People are responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions.

Another ridiculous common myth is that discussing one?s sexual encounters at work is not harassment. This is another borderline issue. If the discussion is graphic, then it is more likely to be considered harassment because it could be considered offensive, even if it is not directed at any one person. But, if the discussion is respectful and circumspect, then this is less likely to be considered harassment.

Every unwelcomed touching, comment or attention is automatically sexual harassment. This is not true. As discussed above, sexual harassment depends upon the context of the interaction. What one person may consider offensive another may not. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, then you should communicate that discomfort. If the behavior continues, then that is sexual harassment.

Finally, many people believe that the majority of sexual harassment claims are false. Filing a claim is a difficult process and usually results in a more hostile work environment. This is a common myth because of a few highly covered stories, but it does not reflect the reality that most sexual harassment claims go unreported.

If you were the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, then you may want to speak to a lawyer. Legal assistance from a professional would be very helpful in navigating these various laws and agencies.

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