In the age of Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement, millions of women have opened up about their sexual harassment experiences. Greater awareness of this important issue can bring about confusion about inappropriate behavior. Here are five things women need to know about sexual harassment.
1. It's More Common Than You Think
Incidents of sexual harassment happen more often than you think. A report from Everyday Sexism and TUC found that 52% of females experience some form of sexual harassment at work. About a quarter had been touched without invitation, and one-fifth had experienced a sexual advance.
Another study from the law firm Slater and Gordon found that 60% of women experienced inappropriate behavior, and nearly half were warned to expect inappropriate behavior from someone before they arrived.
2. Women Often Don't Report It
Experts estimate that about one in five women don't report cases of sexual harassment. Those that do report incidents often don't see a positive outcome. According to TUC, 80% said nothing changed after reporting. Another 16% said the situation worsened after reporting it.
In cases of sexual assault, women can and should pursue justice to help prevent the individual from hurting others.
"Someone convicted of criminal sexual conduct will have to join the sex offender registry," says criminal defense lawyer. "Sex Offender Registration is required for a minimum of 10 years, and a maximum of the rest of your lifetime."
Many women never report the incident because of the cultural stigma they may face, although that is starting to change.
Only about 16% of rapes are reported to law enforcement. Victims of incapacitated or drug-facilitated sexual assault were less likely to report the incident to the authorities.
3. You Have the Right to Say "No" - And You Should
Every woman – and man – has the right to say "no" to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Far too many women who are assaulted never actually said the word "no." Use your voice.
"No" means "no," no matter what.
Consent means agreeing to an action freely and with complete knowledge of the nature of the act. And giving consent to one form of sexual activity does not constitute as permission to partake in every type of sexual activity.
4. Employers Have a Responsibility to Prevent Harassment
Every year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives about 12,000 sexual harassment complaints.
5. Offenders Often Target New Workers
In the workplace, women who are "low power," or newly hired, are often the targets of harassment.
In the UK, the Equal Opportunities Commission said the majority of harassment cases involved people who were in the workplace less than a year.Studies have found that harassers are overwhelmingly men who are in a position of authority over victims. And both men and women can be targets. In Hollywood, both James van der Beek and Terry Crews have opened up about sexual harassment by older and more powerful men.