Every year, there are more and more statistics revealing just how severe the epidemic of sexual harassment against women is. One report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicated that somewhere between “25% to 85%” of women have experienced workplace sexual harassment. Yet while women file the majority of sexual harassment complaints, one study indicated that over 60% of women who experienced sexual harassment did not file a complaint.
So why don’t more women come forward and report sexual harassment? One reason is that women simply are afraid, intimidated or are being “too nice” when reporting sexual harassment. Specifically, women often downplay and understate their complaints. Other times, women back down from reporting sexual harassment when they hear code words like “shrill” and “bossy.” We’ll explore other reasons, but the most important message we have for sexual harassment victims is this: You are not alone and you must be heard.
If you’re a victim of sexual harassment, you should certainly make a report immediately. But before you do anything else, get legal help. Contact the Law Office of John Dalton right away.
The Dangers of “Being Too Nice”
Almost everyone would agree that friendliness and agreeableness are valuable traits. However, many experts in recent years have asserted that many women are being too nice for their own good. Specifically, female sexual harassment victims who are too nice risk being taken advantage of by harassers. In fact, bad actors often target nice women because they think they are easier targets.
This is not to say that nice women in the workplace are to blame for their treatment. The fault always lies with the harasser. “Niceness” or “friendliess” to a harasser often means weakness and is targeted because the harasser believes the “nice” or “friendly” victim won’t do anything.
We have seen many examples of this in our employment law practice. For instance, we once had a client who delayed filing a claim because she was afraid it would damage her colleague’s career. Consequently, her abuser was able to act without consequences until the victim finally stepped forward and contacted us.
The Causes of “Nice” Behavior
Many things influence women in the workplace to stay quiet when they should speak up. For instance, you have cultural variables. Throughout their lives, women are told to be selfless, nice, and caring about others. Society rarely tells them to stand up for their own rights, to say “no,” or to take action. Another reason for “nice” behavior is family history. Many women grow up in families where men make the decisions or, at a minimum, have the upper hand. Finally, some women simply believe that everyone has their best interests at heart. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.
How Workplace Cultures Can Suppress Sexual Harassment Victims
One other possible cause of the under-reporting of sexual harassment stems with oppressive workplace cultures. Rather than encouraging victims of harassment to stand up and defend themselves, leaders denounce victims as being “shrill,” “aggressive,” or “bossy.” Another common refrain is that complainants are not “team players.” These kinds of loaded words discourage victims from stepping forward.
Why All Sexual Harassment Victims Should Contact an Attorney First
If you’re experiencing sexual harassment right now, you need to contact us before you do anything else. It is very common that employers do not have the victim’s best interest in mind. Without legal counsel representing you, your employer may try to cover up your complaint or even retaliate against you, rather than make a positive change. Here are three additional reasons you should contact us first before you make a complaint.
An Attorney Will Help You Protect Your Rights
When you’re a victim of sexual harassment, it can be almost impossible to know what to do. We can help you understand your legal rights and options. In addition, we can provide guidance on how to document the harassment, what steps to take, and how to communicate with your employer. A lawyer can also advise you on the potential outcomes of pursuing legal action.
An Attorney Can Help You Navigate the Legal Process
Maneuvering through the legal process and fighting for compensation is nearly impossible when you’re dealing with the emotional trauma of sexual harassment. In addition, sexual harassment cases are often quite complex. We can serve as your guide throughout the legal process. We can help you file a complaint, negotiate a settlement, and represent you in court.
Now that You Know the Importance of Assertiveness in Sexual Harassment Claims for Women, Call Us Today
At the Law Office of John Dalton, we have many years of experience investigating and litigating workplace sexual harassment cases. In addition, we are dedicated to protecting victims of sexual harassment and giving them a voice. We also pride ourselves on providing sterling customer service. Don’t try to tackle your case by yourself. Let us listen to your story and give you the representation you deserve. You can either call us or reach out to us online.