Why don’t people report sexual harassment right away?

In many cases of alleged sexual harassment, the accusations will come years or even decades after the event occurred. Naturally, this does lead people to ask why there was such a delay and why the reports weren’t made right away. In fact, some people will mistakenly use this as justification not to believe the person who is claiming that they were harassed.

So what is the real reason for this type of delay? What does it mean for sexual harassment cases and how could it impact them?

Fear of retaliation

One potential reason that people have cited is that they’re afraid of retaliation from their boss or someone else in the corporate world. For example, an employee who is trying to get a promotion may not want to report sexual harassment because they believe they will then be denied that promotion.

Lack of belief

Additionally, the mere fact that they assume people won’t believe them can sometimes cause victims to keep their accounts to themselves. They may think that they are just risking too much to bring it to light if they’re not going to be believed anyway.

How does this affect the case?

The length of time that it takes for someone to come forward does not say anything about the validity of their claims. But it can still affect the case. For instance, it may be harder to gather evidence if someone waits for years instead of months to make the report. If you are involved in such a case, it’s very important that you know exactly what legal options you have at your disposal.


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