Women have been suffering in silence, internalizing their pain and feeling the shame of being sexually harassed for what seems like an eternity.
Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace or who seek or provide a particular service are accused of "asking for it" or they ought to feel "flattered by the attention."
No matter how women are dressed, how educated they are, or the position they hold. Sexual harassment is a shared experience.
When women are courageous enough to challenge such unwanted behaviour by men, they are often made to feel degraded. This behaviour by men is across the social and cultural divide, regardless of race and ethnicity or profession.
Victims are expected to prove that they are impeccable and without blame even when they seek justice as in the recent case in Montreal ((Judge Braun, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-court-judge-sexual-assault-victim-1.4370997). A similar situation occurred in Nova Scotia.
It is unfortunate that although laws have been in place for decades to protect women, the system is designed to protect the perpetrators because our workplaces are male-dominated and it is biased towards men.
I am glad the topic is being headlined in the recent weeks because it has generated conversation, people are now being held to account for their actions. Some will face or feel the consequence of their actions where it hurts the most. Money speaks volumes, and the business must go on.
It is encouraging to know that women now speak with a collective voice and feel empowered enough to name and shame.
However, the majority of women who have been victimized and abused by men in the workplace will be afraid to come forward or speak up for fear of losing their jobs. The most vulnerable often feel they have nowhere to go.
Anyone who is a victim of abuse in the workplace, particularly in Canada can approach the Human Rights Commission in their province or territory with confidence for help and support in lodging a complaint. Other countries may have a similar complaint process.
If you or your organization is interested in a Workshop on "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace." We have a solution for you.