As the list of predators in Hollywood continues to grow, most of us are wondering; whoever next?
Besides the worrying details shared by many of the abused, questions such as; will a personal favourite be outed as the most recent sexual abuser anytime soon?
Disturbingly, it’s only on the surface do these allegations appear shocking. To many on the inside, abuse by those in positions of power is the norm.
Sadly, it’s not only in Hollywood do the disrespectful and depraved dwell.
Often in day to day environments such as the office or workplace, these low life’s wait for opportunities to do what they do!
Think about it; there is always one arsehole at work that thinks it’s acceptable to make sexual innuendo and take a second to remind yourself of the overconfident jerk that decides to take things too far at the Christmas doo then proceeds to blame his letchy behaviour on the alcohol.
Women do it too!
So what is sexual harassment, how do you spot it and what do you do if you find yourself on the receiving end of unwanted attention?
Under the Equality Act 2010, sexual harassment is defined as; unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which makes you feel humiliated, intimidated or degraded, violates your dignity and as a result, creates a hostile environment.
In the workplace, one is protected by the Sex Discrimination Act which gives you the legal right to NOT be harassed whilst at work. This Act also protects men and women from being treated less favourably based on their sex!
It is important to note that sexual harassment is an abuse of power via unwelcomed behaviour of a sexual nature.
It is difficult to define exactly what sexual harassment is, so the definition under the Equality Act gives us a good basis to work with. The deciding factor is usually how the recipient feels about the behaviour displayed.
To make it easy to determine, sexual harassment can be broken down into 3 categories.
Non-verbal; includes blatantly staring at various parts of an individual’s body or sharing sexually explicit material without invitation.
Verbal; includes indecent remarks, comments about personal appearance, body and looks, questions and/or comments about someone’s sex life and/or employment related promises in return for sexual favours.
Physical; includes unwanted touching, hugging, inappropriate kissing and/or sexual assault.
If you feel you are subject to any of the above, the first port of call could be to inform the ‘harasser’ that you’re not fond of their behaviour and they should stop.
If you do not feel comfortable enough to confront them out, you need to get it noted ASAP. Let a colleague you can trust know and/or keep a diary of any further antics – this may be needed in the future.
If the harassment does continue, you will need to go to HR (or similar) and let them know what is happening. They will know the procedure that they must adhere to.
Handy tip: try and keep records of emails, conversations or anything pertaining to the abuse as all the evidence may be necessary should the case ever go to a tribunal.
Whilst the above is applicable for both men and women that may be subjected to sexual harassment, statistically, we know that the majority of those harassed are women with an estimated 50% of women in employment claiming to have been or are currently subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace.
Power is a hell of a drug for many as proven over and over in the Harvey Weinstein scandal in particular.
Often as a result of the position held by abusers, they can quite easily to get away with harassment as their victims tend to fear for the job or even their safety.
The law is there to protect individuals and whilst it can sometimes feel pointless, suffering in silence should not be an option.
Standing up to a bully usually has the right outcome…bringing them down a peg or two!
Remember, a bully can only bully you for as long as you allow them.
Expose them and see how quickly they revert back to being the pathetic individual they were before confidence overtook their senses and allowed them to attempt to take the piss!