Why are victims of sexual harassment reluctant to come forward?

As someone who counts yourself among the many victims of workplace sexual harassment in Massachusetts who never came forward with your story, you may have clear reasons for failing to publicize what happened to you. You may, too, not fully understand what kept you from reporting the unsavory behavior, but regardless of your reasoning for not speaking out, you are not alone in your decision to stay quiet.

Regrettably, per Psychology Today, many people hesitate to call attention to the fact that they are victims of sexual harassment. While Americans file about 12,000 complaints of workplace sexual harassment annually, many believe that the actual number of instances of sexual harassment in the United States that occur each year is substantially higher.

So, why are so many victims reluctant to come forward and share their stories? Shame is a major reason many workers are reluctant to come forward, because the act of sexual harassment can prove highly humiliating and lead to feelings of powerlessness.

Many victims of workplace sexual harassment also hesitate to come forward because they have questions about whether what they experienced was actually sexual harassment in the eyes of the law. They may, too, hold off on speaking out because they fear potentially losing their jobs or reputations by doing so. If you are experiencing sexual harassment on the job, make it known. There may be other victims of similar behaviors in your place of business who also fear coming forward, and you may be able to serve as a voice for them.

This information about workplace sexual harassment is meant to educate you, but it does not constitute legal advice.

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