When one suspects or knows that sexual harassment is happening to a colleague at work, one has a moral duty to not turn a blind eye. Saying that someone should do something is not enough to put a halt to that kind of behavior.
The courage it takes to offer help and comfort to a colleague may be just enough to inspire them to stand up for themselves. Courage is inspirational and a person suffering from sexual harassment can often use all the help, encouragement and inspiration that they can get.
4 ways to help
The following are four ways that you can help your colleague that may be experiencing sexual harassment on the job:
- Recognize the signs: Being aware of signs of sexual harassment is the first step toward prevention. You may notice the harassment itself, or its aftermath, such as a co-worker who seems unusually upset or anxious around certain other co-workers.
- Talk directly to the victim and not about them: Don’t gossip to others about what you think might be taking place. This can only serve to confuse the situation and possibly add harm to someone that is already suffering. Direct communication in a private setting can help your co-worker to feel the confidence to open up about what exactly is occurring.
- Offer resources: There are many resources available to those that are being sexually harassed or abused. Even pointing your co-worker in the direction of the company handbook or the human resources department can help.
- Help as a witness: To build a solid case against the perpetrator, proper evidence of the harassment is helpful. If your colleague trusts you enough to witness the harassment, then you can serve as a witness, which helps your friend tremendously in establishing the illegal activity. Anything you see or hear could serve as testimony.
Many things can be done, but the above is a good place to start. If you or someone you care about has been the victim of workplace sexual harassment, find out more about your legal options right away.