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Effects of sexual harassment at workplace

By Sarah Nansikombi.

The    effects of sexual    harassment can be categorized into physiological, psychological and in career related effects.  Sexual harassment in employment interferes with work when it is made a condition of employment or created an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

It causes physiological reactions to the person being sexually harassed such as headaches, fatigue, panic reactions, depression, anxiety, shock, denial, anger, fear, frustration, irritability, insecurity, embarrassment, feelings of betrayal, confusion and feelings of being powerless. Other effects include shame, self – consciousness, low self – esteem, guilt, self – blame and isolation.

Sexual harassment has career – related effects such as decreased job satisfaction, unfavorable performance evaluation especially when one refuses to give in to the sexual demands. Loss of a job or promotion when one refuses to give into the sexual demands.

 Sexual harassment can lead to absenteeism from work either due to frustration or fear or shame or even loss of self-esteem by the worker facing sexual harassment.

How to stop sexual harassment

You can do any of the following so that we together combat the vice of sexual harassment in employment. Do the unexpected by naming the behavior and whatever the harasser has just done, say it, be specific as you talk to the person directly.

Hold the harasser accountable for his or her actions and do not make excuses for the harasser by pretending that it did not really happen.

Take charge of the encounter and let people know what the harasser did . Take not that privacy protects harassers, but visibility undermines them.  So alert  your manager or supervisor or any other else in the company  who can initiate action.

Make honest and direct statements as you speak the truth, no threats, no insults, no obscenities, no appeasing verbal fluff and padding. Be serious, straightforward and blunt. Do not allow to groom acts of sexual harassment.

Demand that the harassment stops forthwith. Make it clear that all people have the right to be free from sexual harassment. Objecting to harassment is a matter of principle.

Stick to your own agenda by not responding to the harasser’s excuses of diversionary tactics. The harasser’s behavior is the issue that is what you have  to say precisely  and repeat it if the behavior persists.

Reinforce your statements with strong, self – respecting body language, eye contact, head up, shoulders back, a strong and serious stance. Do not smile and bear in mind that timid  and submissive body language will undermine your message  to those sexually harassing you.

Respond at the appropriate level and use combined verbal and written responses as you keep track of everything and file a complaint against the perpetuator■

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