In the wake of the recent #metoo movement, one thing is becoming clear — sexual harassment is an epidemic. Sexual harassment charges were at an all-time high last year and show no signs of slowing down. Unfortunately, sexual harassment can happen in many different environments — at work, at school, at church, or even at home. But despite the fact that it's incredibly common, many people don't talk about it.
As a result, there are many misconceptions about sexual harassment that aren't just wrong but actually stop people from pursuing legal action. Here's a look at three of the biggest:
Myth #1: A woman is "asking for it" if she dresses or acts a certain way
Victim-blaming is an all-too-common side of sexual harassment. If a woman dresses provocatively, it means she was looking for a certain type of attention, right? Absolutely not. Nobody asks for unwanted sexual attention, no matter what they're wearing, and nobody asks for unwanted sexual advances just because they may drink too much. A person's body is their own, and absolutely nothing should take that control away..
Myth #2: A man can't be sexually harassed
While sexual harassment does have a stigma of being a male-on-female crime, it certainly can be the other way around — and it's not something to be ashamed of. Many men feel like reporting a female for harassment would be emasculating, but there nothing manly about suffering from a predator. Unwanted sexual attention is unwanted period — no matter who it's happening to. Remember that a sexual harassment lawyer keeps everything confidential — especially this kind of case. Nothing you say to an attorney will be told to anyone else.
Myth #3: If you didn't do anything then, it's too late now
Many women may look back at an unwelcomed sexual advance and realize they didn't say or do anything in the moment, so it must mean they didn't really mind it, right? That's completely wrong. There's a common psychological concept called the "freeze response" where someone in a traumatic situation can't say or do anything to stop what's happening. Just because you didn't immediately fight back doesn't mean you welcomed the advance.
In conclusion, one of the most important things to remember when it comes to sexual harassment is that you're not alone — 81% of women and 43% of men say they've experienced it at some point during their life. If you feel like you've been a victim, contacting a sexual harassment attorney could very well be the best decision you've ever made—not for you to get some kind of compensation, but to make sure whoever harmed you never does it again.
Contact a sexual harassment attorney in your area to learn more.