Victims’ Response for Sexual Harassment



The #MeToo movement brought two realities to light:

  • First, it exposed the fact that sexually-charged conduct (ranging from sexually-tinged comments all the to full-blown sexual assault) was much more prevalent in workplaces than what had been previously reported.
  • Second, it exposed the fact that too many corporations had turned a blind eye to this misconduct, particularly when the perpetrator was considered a high-value employee. Because of the second reality, victims experienced double victimization – first being targets of the wrongful behavior, and then feeling unheard and uncared for because of a corporate culture of complicity.

One of the most powerful tangible effects of the #MeToo movement has been a drastic change in acceptable social norms. Fueled by the broken silence started by the movement, women (and some men) began to feel empowered to tell their stories of being exposed to sexual harassment at some point during their career. This, in turn, provided broader support for people to feel comfortable voicing concerns about and/or reporting sexual harassment. This support made it easier for other women to report concerns, whether directly to their organization or via social media. This created a cycle that turned into #MeToo and later #TimesUp and other movements into movements that have made addressing or reporting misconduct more palatable more common.

The problem is that while employees now feel a greater sense of power and comfort for addressing the issue directly with the perpetrator or filing a formal complaint with their employer, no one has given them practical and useful information on how to do so in a way that will help address the misconduct. With this new reality in mind, it has become increasingly important to provide employees—whether direct targets or witnesses to sexually-charged misconduct—with tools to put a stop to the misconduct long before it turns into full-blown unlawful sexual harassment.

In response to this need, Emtrain’s sexual harassment experts have created this Victim’s Response Checklist to help employees address and solve problems more quickly and effectively. The checklist provides targets of misconduct with guidance on how to address issues directly with the perpetrator or with management. The focus is on providing examples of real-world, understandable language that is meant to lower the temperature during tense situations. It also provides employees with helpful language for reporting wrongful behavior that doesn’t simply rely on legally-charged language, since so often legal terms are used imprecisely and therefore triggers a defensive and unhelpful response.

As is true with all Emtrain resources, this checklist will help you identify problematic behavior and learn ways to address it early, before it escalates and creates a situation that has a negative impact on your workplace culture.
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