Sexual harassment isn't just women's problem anymore
With the news hitting the web Monday that Harvey Weinstein has been convicted on three counts in a Los Angeles court, and with 97% of UK women experiencing sexual harassment, it’s long past time for organisations to refresh their awareness and policies on this issue...
*Content Warning* This piece includes references and comments on rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexism.
It’s almost 2023. And yet, a very recent investigation by UN Women UK found that 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed, with a further 96% not reporting those situations because of the belief that it would not change anything. These damning numbers, while horrific, are nothing compared to the very real stories of trauma and lifelong every day sexism that women and girls go through every day, in every part of the world.
One of Weinstein’s victims, Siebel Newsom (first partner of California Governor Gavin Newsom), said in a statement, “Harvey Weinstein will never be able to rape another woman. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs…Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers used sexism, misogyny, and bullying tactics to intimidate, demean, and ridicule us survivors.
“This trial was a stark reminder that we as a society have work to do.”
And with only 3% of women aged 18-24 never having been sexually harassed, it’s incredibly clear that not only does the ‘not all men’ objection not applicable – it’s actually most men who are guilty of it.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a vastly growing problem which pollutes the day-to-day working environment with toxicity, negativity and hostility. Often people don’t even realise it is harassment; they don’t complain or other parties choose to ignore it happening around them. Harassment often has a detrimental impact on the victim’s confidence and as such, impacts work performance as well as physical and mental health.
Predominantly, the root cause of sexual harassment is still often men in positions of power who abuse their power in order to coerce those who they deem as the weaker party. But it can also happen at any level, and can come in forms and from people fromo whom we least expect it.
Karen Holder, founder at A City Law Firm, told HR Grapevine, “This is not acceptable and never was, but in a modern society this should no longer be tolerated, or eyes closed to the issues. Following the emergence of the #MeToo campaign and recent case law (Fricker v Gartner UK Ltd) the Government is expressly supporting the need to amend provisions in The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill.”
Holden has shared with our readers her legal opinion and offers below an exploration of the true impact that sexual harassment has on women and how to greater support and protect them.
She’ll answer questions such as:
Sexual harassment is a current and real issue that is often overlooked and played down as ‘banter’ or a joke.