Sexual harassers used to be able to count on something that virtually guaranteed they would never face any consequences for their actions: the silence of their victims.
In the not-so-distant past, victims of sexual harassment often felt ashamed of what had happened to them. Sexual subjects aren’t a comfortable topic for many in American society, and discussing sexual harassment often meant that victims would have to repeat lurid details that they found embarrassing. Many were also afraid that they’d end up subjected to another form of harassment from people who either doubted their stories or questioned what the victims had done to “bring on” the harassment.
That’s all changing. In a very short period of time, the “MeToo” movement has moved conversations about sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere into the forefront of the American consciousness. People no longer feel compelled to whisper about sexual harassment when it happens. Instead, they may just be inclined to shout.
Recent polls reveal that younger people are at the forefront of the changes. Over half of those aged 18 to 24 say that they will challenge or confront harassment when they see or experience it. Another survey found that half the people polled also feel that social attitudes about what’s acceptable in the first place have dramatically shifted. What once was defined as simply boorish behavior or dismissed with sayings like, “boys will be boys,” is absolutely considered harassment these days.
Unfortunately, older males seem to be lagging behind the trends — which is unfortunate. Older males tend to hold the most dominate positions of power in both government and business. That puts them in the unique position of being able to effect changes that could end sexual harassment for good — if they want to do so.
If you’re a victim of sexual harassment, you don’t have to accept that kind of treatment. If you’re unable to get your harasser to stop, an attorney can advise you of your rights and discuss all your avenues for legal recourse.