Something is wrong with your loved one, and you can’t quite put your finger on it. However, you know it has to do with work. Something has changed, and it seems to be affecting your loved one in a profound way. In fact, you may feel as if you are watching your loved one suffering for reasons you cannot explain or correct.
If you are attuned to your loved one, you know this is more than just not feeling well and seems deeper than having a typical bad day at work. With the recent attention of sexual harassment on the job, it may not have been a great leap to begin wondering if your loved one is being harassed at work. How can you know, and what can you do?
Do you see these signs in your loved one?
Becoming the victim of sexual harassment at work is one of the most humiliating and all-consuming experiences one can endure. Your loved one may go through a phase of denying the harassment took place or even blaming herself for what happened. Your loved one may not share these things with you, but you may notice any of the following signs in your loved one that you should not ignore:
- Becoming withdrawn, refusing to talk about work
- Displaying anxiety, especially when getting ready for work
- Changing her routine, such as giving up enjoyable activities or neglecting personal appearance
- Not eating or overeating
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Complaining of vague symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches with no apparent cause
- Experiencing forgetfulness or distraction
Your loved one may feel angry or betrayed, and the abuser may provoke feelings of low self-esteem or powerlessness that can be dangerous and lead to thoughts of self-harm.
What can you do?
You want to help your loved one to get through this difficult time, but you should know that it is not always easy. Your loved one will need complete understanding with no judgement and encouragement for taking the steps necessary to regain control over her life. This may mean seeking counseling or becoming involved in support groups to help other victims of sexual harassment.
It may also involve holding accountable the employer or co-worker who victimized her. In fact, you may be able to provide your loved one with legal options by speaking with an attorney who has experience protecting the rights of men and women who are victims of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.