In spite of the focus that has been placed on the issue of sexual harassment in recent years, it is a topic that still generates a number of myths. For example, there is a belief that sexual harassment is merely flirting and as such does not need to be taken too seriously. But flirting is a consensual reciprocal action between two people. If only one person is engaging then it isn’t flirting, it is merely an uncomfortable conversation. However, if attempts at flirtation are repeated and unwanted, then this could constitute sexual harassment.
Another myth is that sexual harassment is never perpetrated by men who are successful or respected. This is categorically untrue in fact, most cases of harassment involve a superior intimidating a subordinate.
There is also a belief that sexual harassment is a problem that only involves women being confronted by aggressive men. While it is true that sexual harassment cases often involve male-female interactions, acts of sexual harassment can occur between people of any gender or sexual orientation.
Finally, to build upon that prior point, sexual harassment is not about sex ? it is about power. Harassment in the workplace is the adult version of bullying. It is about one person exercising power over someone else. This is why, sometimes, the best way to stop future harassment is to confront your aggressor and tell them point-blank you do not appreciate their behavior. Once you remove the element of domination, the harassment is no longer enticing.
If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, then you may want to speak with an employment law attorney. Sexual harassment remains a largely unspoken and misunderstood problem. Don’t let myths or stigmas stop you from exercising your rights. You are entitled to work in a safe environment free from harassment.