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Recent Poll Says More People Willing to Report Sexual Harassment

Oct. 16, 2021

In Georgia, people who have been victimized by employment law violations should be aware that nothing will be done to put a stop to it and protect their interests if they are unwilling to speak out about it. This is especially true with sexual harassment and the inappropriate behaviors therein. In recent years, greater attention has been paid to sexual harassment, culminating with the #metoo movement in which those in positions of power in the workplace were taken to task for their behaviors.

Still, many are reluctant to protest even if they believe they have been wronged because they fear a negative impact on their career. This is true in any job, but the corporate world – still dominated by men – is particularly challenging. On a positive note, a recent poll suggests that the perceptions are changing. Those confronted by these concerns should be aware of what they can do if they are victimized.

Associated Press Poll Finds that More People Will Report Sexual Harassment

The Associated Press released a poll to gauge where people currently stand on sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct. Conducted in September 2021, it found that a growing number of people are prepared to protest these behaviors. Around 54% said they would complain if they were personally victimized. Fifty-eight percent stated they would also complain if they saw it happening to another person. Around 60% of women and 50% of men stated that the recent rise in attention to these behaviors was a catalyst to them showing a willingness to speak out themselves.

When #metoo was in its early stages, fewer people felt it was a positive for the movement to reduce and stop sexual harassment. Forty-five percent stated as such in January 2020. However, the recent AP poll saw that number rise to 61%. Nineteen percent believe it is a negative. Another 19% do not believe it has done much to change how people behave. For the country in general, 45% believe it has been beneficial. About one-quarter said the opposite. In January 2020, it was one-third saying it was a positive and 38% said it was negative. There was also a 6% rise in people believing men benefited from it from 19% to 25%. Women of color were not seen as deriving a positive impact from it at 41%. Eighteen percent thought it was a negative. Slightly more than one-third of Americans think these behaviors are major problem at work. In 2017, that was 56%.

Even with Perceptions Changing, Sexual Harassment Remains an Issue

Drawing intense focus on a problem is a way to address it. That was one of the goals of #metoo. If there are consequences for employers, supervisors and colleagues taking liberties with people and committing sexual harassment in the workplace, it is less likely to happen. The nunbers are trending upward in the number of people who are seeing improvements in workplace behavior, but the overall landscape is still troubling. It is imperative for people who are experiencing sexual harassment to understand their options. The behavior must be of sufficient severity that it is damaging the person’s status on the job; management must be told what is happening; nothing substantial must have been done to stop it and it kept happening. #Metoo opened the door to many people to complain about how they were being treated. When a person is confronted by this pervasive problem, having professional assistance can hold offenders accountable.