For many women (and sometimes men), the office can be stressful on a number of fronts.
Meeting the daily demands of a 9 to 5 job, interacting with some co-workers one may not like, and trying to make enough income to stay ahead of the cost of living can certainly prove challenging.
What could add to such stresses?
How about being verbally or even physically sexually abused in the workplace?
Unfortunately, that is a problem that many individuals not only go through on occasion, but some endure it for the sake of keeping their only source of income.
So, what can be done to change all that?
Standing up and Fighting Back
While one would think that the workplace should be a peaceful and safe habitat, all too many people know that is not always the case.
With that in mind, what are some ways you can protect yourself and make the office a relatively stress-free environment to meet your financial needs?
- Knowing the warning signs – One of the first things to do to lessen the chances of becoming a sexual assault victim in the office is to know the warning signs. Is your boss a little too friendly around you? Does he or she make you feel uncomfortable by either their words or their actions? Do they try and spend time with you alone, forsaking the other employees? Have they asked you to stay after normal work hours or routinely do stuff outside the office? While such actions are not a 100 percent guarantee that these will lead to a sexual assault, they are outside of the normal office culture;
- Lessening the chances of becoming the next victim – While sexual assault victims should NEVER be blamed for an attack, they can do certain things to decrease the chances of becoming the next victim. If you feel like you’ve been sexually harassed in the workplace, report it as soon as possible. Not doing so may encourage a boss or other co-worker to continue harassing you, possibly leading to an assault. Also make it clear that you will not tolerate certain actions, language etc. in the workplace. If you feel like your job may be threatened as a result, look to speak with someone in charge. If it is the boss that is bothering you, get with other co-workers to see if any of them have had similar experiences;
- Seeking medical and legal help – In the event you have been sexually harassed or worse in the workplace, seek legal help (along with going to law enforcement if a physical assault occurred). Whether you are in need of a Houston sex crime attorney or one closer to home, be sure to document as much of the details as possible when talking with counsel. Your medical needs should be first and foremost, so make sure you get yourself to a medical facility as soon as possible. If you’ve been sexually assaulted, this is even more important due to the fact that crucial forensic evidence needs to be recovered quickly, increasing the chances you can gain a conviction of the perpetrator. While the details of such an attack are certainly raw and emotional, sharing them with the proper authorities as soon as you can will benefit you in the long run;
- Get with other co-workers – Typically, if a boss or someone else in the office has sexually harassed a female co-worker (sometimes men too), this isn’t their first time doing it. If you are in an office with a fair amount of co-workers, go to some of them to see if they’ve experienced any similar incidents. It is important from day one of opening a business where there are employees that the management culture is clearly defined and followed (in the right way). If another worker or workers have also been sexually harassed or worse, they may be willing to come forward if they see they will have support from others.
A safe workplace should always be the norm, but it is unfortunately not always the case.
If your boss or someone else in the office has made you feel uncomfortable or even sexually assaulted you, stand your ground and make sure you are their last victim.