Nearly 85 percent of women in America say they have experienced sexual harassment at work. A new study conducted by Ball State University in Indiana found that sexual harassment has more than a psychological impact on victims, as it can also make the victim physically ill
Sexual harassment under the law is considered any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical or verbal harassment of a sexual nature. The harasser does not have to be a man. A woman can harass a man or another woman as well. Not every comment or joke constitutes sexual harassment. When harassment becomes severe or frequent that it creates a hostile work environment, it may be illegal.
The Physical Toll of Sexual Harassment
The psychological effects of sexual harassment are well-understood. Physical and verbal sexual harassment often leads to anxiety, stress, anger, and low self-esteem. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness are also common among victims of harassment. Participants in the Ball State study who reported to have experienced sexual harassment within the past year revealed surprising physical symptoms as a result. They reported conditions such as:
- Disrupted sleep
- Increase in smoking
- Lack of physical activity
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Poor diet
- Slow metabolism
For many victims, the mental and physical effects of sexual abuse left them so incapacitated that they missed days from work or stopped working altogether. This isolation created a vicious cycle where victims became more depressed and lethargic, making them more likely to eat junk food and stop exercising. This led to more serious, chronic health problems.
Combating Sexual Harassment at Work
The Ball State study’s authors say one of the most effective ways to prevent workplace sexual harassment is by educating employees about corporate policies against it. Employers need to make federal and state laws visible throughout the office or factory. Workers should have a simple procedure for reporting harassment and access to managers to do so. When harassment exists, perpetrators should be firmly disciplined. The law protects victims from retaliation for reporting abuse and employers should support that protection.
Cherry Hill Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment has far-reaching emotional and physical consequences for victims. With firm and consistent anti-harassment policies, education, and support, sexual harassment is preventable. The law protects you from being demoted, fired, or otherwise punished for reporting harassment. Cherry Hill sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. protect workers subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, comments, or requests for favors. To schedule a free consultation, call 215-569-1999 or submit an online inquiry today. We proudly serve clients throughout New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.