The Ugly Reality of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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It is time that we as a society start supporting women.

My name is Rebecca Sawatsky, I am eighteen and currently in grade twelve at Warman High School. Throughout my life I have encountered numerous cases where woman’s voices have been ignored. For example, I recently read about a legal case where a defendant was ruled not guilty of rape based on what type of underwear the victim was wearing. I am passionate about women’s rights and am using my voice to create a change.

Over the course of a woman’s career, fifty percent of women will experience sexual harassment in the workplace.

While the majority of businesses have sexual harassment policies, few are being enacted. Many businesses are attempting to combat the issue by having annual sexual harassment seminars, but the majority of the time they are barely scraping the surface of the issue at hand. They aren’t preventing this treatment from happening, but instead avoiding legal liability. Despite the seminars the reality is sexual harassment cases go underreported, undealt with, and overlooked.

75% of victims have experienced retaliation when they spoke up.

This statistic shows that companies have created an environment where women aren’t feeling supported in their claims. They fear their workplace because of the harassment they experience, but also fear speaking up because of backlash from their employer. Many will lose their jobs, raises, or promotions when expressing their concerns to a superior. Many companies are more focused on making money than the well-being of their employees. This creates a toxic environment which reduces productivity in the workplace thus hurting the company even further.

It’s not just the harasser’s problem. Bystanders play an important role in the sexual harassment of women in the workplace. Coworkers standing by minding their own business contribute to the problem as well. It’s time they start making harassment their business by acting in the moment to put a stop to this treatment. Standing up for women, being their voice when they are unable to speak up for themselves should be everyone’s responsibility. This will stop the problem directly at the source, not leaving it up to the executives to start doing their part.

94% of all reported cases of sexual harassment go unresolved.

I am calling on employers who are combating these issues to speak up. These voices have more weight than the victims, as the head of companies are widely influential in the business world.

They need to use this power to prove to other companies that by implementing their sexual harassment policies, it’s improved their workplace. By investing in their employees, it has created a positive environment. People work harder for employers they respect and feel respected by. By caring about your employees you’re gaining respect which in return increases productivity, improving your company.

Employers and colleagues, it’s time you start doing your part.