Are certain sexual harassment victims more believable?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2021 | employment law |

No one should ever have to endure a hostile work environment due to harassment, but far too many people do. Victims may say the experience is frightening, demoralizing or humiliating, depending on the exact circumstances. Sexual harassment is just one type that can happen to any type of worker, though recent data suggests that is not what many people believe.

If you’ve ever experienced sexual harassment while on the job in North Carolina, you may not know exactly what to do about it. Even if you did, you may feel as though your workplace did not adequately address the situation, even going so far as to disbelieve your claims. A study conducted by one university found that people who did not fit into a demographic typically associated with sexual harassment were less likely to be believed. However, victims are all different and deserve to have their stories told.

Some victims believed more often than others

The research concluded that people were more likely to believe a woman’s claims of sexual harassment if she met certain standards. These standards include a woman who is conventionally attractive, presents herself as feminine, is more incompetent and who shows weakness. The study also showed that people believed women with these same characteristics were more likely to experience sexual harassment.

Sadly, this all translates to women who fall outside of these categories having a more difficult time in finding support after experiencing workplace sexual harassment. Other research even suggests that women in general are often blamed for their victimization and that male perpetrators garner empathy from others. Not only might these women have a more difficult time proving their claims, but people may assume the experience doesn’t impact them as much.

Victims deserve to be heard

No matter what you may look or act like, if you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment at work, you deserve to tell your story. Victims are as different as their experiences and they have a right to a safe work environment. You may even want to take legal action and should receive appropriate support so this doesn’t happen again to you or anyone else.