As a woman I strive everyday to become a stronger, more open, and mature person. We live in a world in which women are marginalized whether it’s in the workplace or in our personal lives it is ever so challenging to make a respectable reputation for ourselves. As women we do not receive the same amount of respect that a man would because of patriarchy.
You will find social and economic imbalances at a workplace that will show to that women do receive the same compensation as men. Due to the fact that society normalize the idea that men are naturally more powerful or influential it is easy to dismiss certain things as normal. However, precisely because boss to employee dynamics can be tricky it is very important that as women we keep our eyes open and are careful.
It is never acceptable to be disrespected physically at a workplace and it is never justifiable. In no way should someone position at a workplace be used to take advantage of someone. For any reason if you feel that you are being forced or obligated to do something you feel uncomfortable with you should report it.
1. Listen to Your Gut
I know from experience that things are easier said than done. It is wise to think before going into a workplace that we are human and we have emotions. Our emotions can betray us or work in our favor. When entering a workplace it is always good to remember that you are your own person and should not feel like you have to make your boss or coworkers happy. So in a way always remember that you come first. In a toxic workplace rude or mean behavior is normalize and it is no longer a place where you are taken into consideration. If sexual harassment is dismissed or swiped under the rug than remember that you do not have to be silent.
2. Set boundaries
Do not fall for the trap of being used to putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation because you do not want to lose your job or you do not want to be that person. Sexual harassment being as soon as you feel like you have been disrespected whether if it was verbal or physical. An example would when someone who you see as a professional figure starts to flirt with you. Immediately what comes naturally is to wonder if you had done something to provoke this interaction. But this is very dangerous because you definitely do not want to feel guilty for being approached in a way that you did not consent to. Know your boundaries and feel empowered to set them when needed.
3. Treat sexual harassment for what it is.
Sexual harassment is a very serious thing and it is crucial that you nip it in the bud as soon as possible. Someone is an experienced sexual harasser knows how manipulate his/her victims. A sexual harasser knows how fear works and sneaky way to avoid being held responsible. Know that when you are sexually harassed that you should not feel ashamed or feel like you are the only one. If it helps you can try talking to your coworkers about the situation as see if sexual harassment is common or not. Regardless of whether your coworkers support you are not know that you should vocalize what you feel.
4. Your personal space should not be invaded.
You body is yours only and it should not be meant to be touched inappropriately without your consent. Just because you are in a public space does not mean that your body is also public. Not even in a joking manner, should anyone be touching you in a way in which you feel uncomfortable. Even if you are in a public workplace and this is going on and it’s dismissed as normal, know that you absolutely have the power to say that you feel uncomfortable.
Sexual harassment is not only physical contact but it could also be sexual remarks or someone making sexual advance. For example if you feel like your coworker is simply using something as an excuse to get closer or spend more time with you and you feel uncomfortable than something is wrong. If you start to feel like you are walking on eggshells trying to avoid this person than pay attention to yourself. When things start to get really bad and this person coming on to you start to get angry be careful. Workplaces can be a very difficult place to maneuver around trying avoid someone who is harassing you or whom you feel uncomfortable with. If things get really bad and your own boss or Human Resource Office is not helping then it’s time to get out of there and put yourself first.