6 Consequences of Sexual Harassment

Unwanted sexual advances are, unfortunately, all too common in settings such as the workplace. An individual in a position of power may opt to leverage their influence and control over someone in a sexually-exploitative manner. Not only is this blatantly illegal, but sometimes employers may escape their own set of consequences scot-free.

However, victims of sexual harassment have to deal with the abuse against them. In addition, they must contend with the incredible levels of pressure that arise out of the situation. Some have communicated with a Levitt lawyer for legal protection. However, others are often afraid to speak up in fear of the consequences.

Here are some of the main consequences of sexual harassment:

Consequence #1: Demotion

Some victims of sexual harassment may stop themselves short of reporting unwanted advances of sexual harassment. This boils down to the fact that the immediate consequences will affect their employment. Take demotion, for example. If a worker brings the behaviour to the attention of those in positions of power, they may face an undue demotion for causing a disturbance in the chain of command.

Worse yet, the individual who conducted the sexual harassment against the victim may continue to apply the same sexually-exploitative abuse towards the victim, even though they may be in a lower department. Consequentially, the perpetrator may feel emboldened by their ability to escape their own reprimanding, putting the victim in a seemingly never-ending state of sexual vulnerability.

Consequence #2: Termination

Termination is another consequence of sexual harassment that you should be aware of. If a victim of sexual harassment doesn’t find themselves being pushed down the ranks in the workplace, they may be outright fired. This is done as a consequence of both potentially harming the company’s image while protecting the individuals who are the face of said company.

For fear of termination, especially if factors like severance pay are not included, victims may opt to keep their incidents of abuse bottled up. Even though the light may seem dim at the moment, help always exists. Victims should contact a local employment lawyer, who will inform them of their rights about wrongful termination.

Consequence #3: Shame

Without a doubt, one of the more pressing consequences that a victim of sexual harassment in any setting has to live with is shame. Most of the time, a power dynamic exists at play in which a perpetrator abuses their influence to sexually manipulate and exploit a victim. Since the victim fears the consequences that would potentially affect their livelihood if they report the incident, they are forced to internalize the harassment.

This can manifest in feelings of guilt, anxiety and depression, amongst others. The consequences for not brining sexual harassment to light can be especially intimidating for the victim. However, the inner implications can be much more troubling.

Consequence #4: The Implications Last Longer Than Expected

Even with a positive outcome in the successful reporting of sexual harassment, the memories of the incident can remain. Victims may often find themselves having severe nightmares that are representative of the sexual abuse they face. These painful memories could have been a one-off or a prolonged period of harassment.

All of this is representative of post-traumatic stress disorder, and can be exacerbated if not tended to. If you experience symptoms of PTSD long after the sexual harassment has taken place, it is critical to speak to a mental health specialist who can aid in eliminating the associated, long-term repercussions.

Consequence #5: It Affects Your Financial Situation

Similar to the first two points, sexual harassment affects your livelihood while physically being present at the workplace. However, this can extend outside the work environment as well. If a victim finds themselves without a job after bringing the sexual harassment to light, they might find themselves in a much more precarious set of circumstances.

They might discover that poor references and a disrupted work record are the only things they will be bringing with them on the job search. Both of these things could have been orchestrated by those in positions of power. Sometimes, it is done by the one who has committed the actual sexual harassment. The economic consequences the victim faces are all too real, which inevitably affects their social, mental and financial well-being for the long term.

Consequence #6: Sexual Harassment Does Not Discriminate

Many reported and unreported incidents of sexual harassment usually involve a female victim and a male in a position of authority. However, it goes beyond that scenario. Sexual discrimination and harassment affect individuals of all genders and sexual orientations.

For example, reported statistics have also shown that gay men face sexual harassment of some kind in the workplace. The consequences may differ from person to person when considering their profile and background. However, the emotional and mental trauma they face remains.

Sexual harassment is a deliberate attempt by individuals holding influence to exert their power over someone in a sexually-exploitive manner. It halts a victim’s ability to function in the workplace, as well as their day-to-day lives. Worse yet, the economic consequences only reinforce the traumas they face from the incidents.

It is, however, vital to note that help is always available, even when it doesn’t appear to be. The right support system will always find a way to help you deal with the sexual harassment and cope with its long-term consequences.