It seems women are still struggling to report sexual harassment...
The app Whisper, which allows you to write anonymous confessions, has a new thread revealing women’s experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace. And the number of confessions pouring in are making us really, really angry.
Work should really be at the top of your list of places to feel comfortable and safe, but for many women this still isn’t the case. And – depressingly – for many women, telling the world anonymously is still easier than reporting it to senior members of staff, with someone even admitting that it is their own boss who’s guilty of sexually harassing them in the first place.
Turning to Whisper to admit what they’re going through, many women said that they’re keeping quiet about the harassment because they’re scared of the repercussions if they complained, with one user stating: “I’ve been sexually harassed at work more times than I can count. But I’ve never filed a claim… I’m scared of the looks I’ll get after.”
Others confess they’re worried they’ll be seen as “difficult” or that their salaries make them feel forced to put up with incidents of harrassment.
However some anonymous posts reveal the blatant victim blaming that occurs in some workplaces when complaints are raised. Many said work was awkward afterwards, or that they were blamed by colleagues when the perpetrator was sacked.
One woman even revealed that she was fired after being encouraged to report the incident by senior members of staff.
The law makes it clear that sexual harassment is not acceptable, and whilst there is no strict definition provided that constitutes sexual harassment, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 gives everyone, regardless of gender, the legal right not to be sexually harassed at work, or to treat anyone less favourably because of their sex.
Sexual harassment can be verbal, non-verbal or even physical and can range from comments about someone’s appearance, body or clothes, to looking or staring at a person’s body, or even physically touching, sexual assaulting or raping someone.
And while it’s great that Whisper is helping to raise awareness of the extent of the harassment that women still face at work, isn’t it devastatingly sad – and totally unacceptable – that we’re having to rely on an anonymous app to do so?