Knowing the facts behind some common and harmful myths about sexual harassment can be important to knowing when your rights have been violated and when it may be time to take legal action. Below, we will debunk some of the most pervasive myths about sexual harassment.
Don’t Believe these Myths about Sexual Harassment
Myth 1 – Men are always the perpetrators of sexual harassment.
Fact – Wrong! Men and women can both be the perpetrators – or the victims – of sexual harassment. Additionally, sexual harassment can occur when the perpetrator and the victim are the same gender.
In other words, sexual harassment is not defined by the genders of the perpetrator and victim. Instead, it is defined by unwanted sexual contact or advances being made and creating a hostile work environment for the victim.
Myth 2 – The targets of sexual harassment usually provoke it by the way they look or act.
Fact – Wrong again. Studies have shown that women who dress conservatively are just as likely to be sexually harassed. -Indeed, sexual harassment can sometimes be not only about attraction and sexuality, but also an expression of power or domination.
Myth 3 – Sexual harassment is just harmless flirting, and the people who report it just don’t have a sense of humor.
Fact – This is complete false. Flirting is mutually consensual behavior, while sexual harassment by definition is not consensual. Sexual harassment can be damaging, embarrassing and degrading. While sexual harassment can cause people emotional distress, it can also end up impacting their jobs and income.
Myth 4 – People should just ignore sexual harassment, and then it will go away.
Fact – This, again, is completely untrue. The perpetrators of sexual harassment tend to be persistent and can take ignored advances as encouragement to continue to harass victims. Sometimes the only way to make sexual harassment go away is to report it and take legal action against the perpetrator(s).
Myth 5 – Sexual harassment rarely happens.
Fact – Unfortunately, this is not true either. Sexual harassment is shockingly pervasive. In fact, in 2011 (the most recent year for which data is available), the EEOC received nearly 11,400 complaints of workplace sexual harassment.
Los Angeles Sexual Harassment Lawyer at Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP
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