What Happens When Women Report Sexual Harassment
Unfortunately, most of them don't report it.
Fear of being victim-blamed, getting fired or shunned by co-workers are among the many reasons why most women to avoid that awkward, sometimes humiliating conversation on the job.
Elite Daily spoke to four women who did report sexual harassment at work about the different outcomes they experienced.
Two requested that their last names be redacted, while the others asked for their full names to be included. All of them expressed relief that they used their voice to speak up.
Check out their stories:
Noelle Andressen's co-worker grabbed her crotch area.
Andressen was warned when she first started working at a casino office in Vegas to watch out for a higher-up.
After he literally "grabbed her by the pussy" (his second time touching her inappropriately), she organized an off-site meeting with four other female co-workers who were also harassed.
They reported the incidents to the human resources (HR) office, and he was fired after a few months of evaluations.
I wasn't being called a liar, but this person had seniority having been there a while working. I did have to spearhead it myself. I had to administrate the whole thing. I had to keep going no matter what. What I feared might happen did not happen and I felt like my words did matter.
What I feared might happen did not happen and I felt like my words did matter.
She still notes that the situation made her more aware going forward, especially because she is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
Once he was gone, I didn't have to worry about him. But I had to worry because there are other men out there.
Denise Demijo was repeatedly grabbed and yelled at by her supervisor in front of all her co-workers.
Three different people harassed Demijo while she worked as a bill collector in California.
A female co-worker asked if she moonlighted as a stripper when she was not in the office. Another guy complimented her legs in front of a room full of other co-workers.
The last straw was a supervisor physically assaulting her after she turned down his frequent (and public) requests for a date.
He grabbed my wrist and pulled me to him. He was yelling at me and screaming at me. He even once grabbed my desk with me in it and pulled it next to his. Everyone just watched and no one was sticking up for me.
Everyone just watched and no one was sticking up for me.
She reported his behavior to a woman in HR and was told she was at fault for switching in heels too much. The company also refused her request to transfer to another department. She says,
At one point I was just crying at work because I felt stuck and miserable.
Eventually, she contacted the corporate office and filed another report. After apologizing to her, they reprimanded the HR woman for her reaction.
Demijo quit after returning from a four-day vacation. The supervisor remained with the company after she left.
Jennifer was smacked on the behind and cornered in an office closet.
As Jennifer walked out of a work meeting for an architecture company in New York, the senior vice president of her company slapped her behind and then said, "Oh, I forgot. No touching."
He had previously made comments about her dating life and demanded that she hug him, a request she shut down. Jennifer reported the incident immediately and her office responded by granting her a few days off.
They forbid him from approaching her again, but she says,
The same morning I returned to work, he cornered me in the supply closet and told me, 'I'm so sorry. I'm not a bad person.'
He also sent her a text message on her birthday and wrote an inappropriate message in the company card that all of her co-workers signed.
He was fired a month later while Jennifer was on vacation— after other employees asked management about his behavior. Unfortunately, he happened to be partial owner of the building, so although he was not allowed back in their office, she still saw him regularly. She says,
"Every day I felt like a victim all over again. It was just too much."
Jennifer ultimately quit and acknowledges that the incident still bothers her.
I can be hanging out with my boyfriend and he can just be smacking my behind, playing as I'm walking by, and I freak out all over again. I don't want to be that person.
Every day I felt like a victim all over again. It was just too much.
The greatest thing these stories have in common is that these women spoke up.
They may not be working the same job anymore, not all of the jerks got fired and some of them still deal with affects from their traumatic experiences. No part of the sexual harassment report process is easy.
Sexual harassment against women should not be a part of company culture.
But they still showed their aggressors and their jobs that sexual harassment against women should not be a part of company culture.