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Written by Himani Gautam of Calcutta University

Edited by Ishita Mangla


Harassment generally exists in two forms: gender-based harassment and sex-focused harassment that centers on sex and desire for sexual or romantic connection. Gender harassment is usually not about sexual attraction or sexuality. Gender-harassing comprising physical, verbal, and symbolic behaviors insult and degrade one’s gender in an attempt to say power, control behavior, or force people that don’t conform out of a specific job or out of the profession entirely. Women across the world experience different types of harassment, sort of which cross the legal standard of either quid pro quo harassment or harassment that’s so severe and pervasive that it constitutes a hostile work environment that negatively impacts one’s work.

In any case, others experience harassment—usually gender harassment—that doesn’t necessarily satisfy the legal guideline yet features a negative impact on the working life of the various individuals and workplace cultures. The Survivors/victims of sexual abuse face many obstacles. The assault can leave lasting emotional trauma, which can manifest as a post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, drug abuse issues, self-injury, depression, sleep disorders, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, and more. It also can end in physical problems, like pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and wounds. Survivors/victims also face obstacles presented by people. If they open up to somebody that they had been assaulted, it’s possible that the opposite person will have a hard time believing them or will tell them that it is their fault. It’s going to be difficult for them to locate some legal, medical, and counseling resources, especially as people who suffered this can take this as a serious personal issue that is haunting them. The embarrassment is systemic. Harassment isn’t something that happens because of fleeting circumstance or desire. It’s altogether driven in various sectors because of imbalances in power.


No sector remains untouched by harassment, nor unaffected by its impacts. Harassment damages the lives, health, prospects, financial independence, and opportunities of the victims, and costs businesses, not just legal fees, yet lost productivity, morale, effectiveness, and talent. Tolerating or failing to answer harassment can hinder person’s and other targets’ economic security, access to opportunity, and advancement, which serves to preserve the established request and power imbalances that drive harassment within the first place. Women are the foremost normal, however not the sole, targets for harassment. There are basic patterns for harassment, yet those patterns don’t capture the variations in experience by different groups of individuals and by workers in several sectors. The information shows that across all sectors, women of inferiority are the common regular targets of harassment by perpetrators, who are typically people of upper status. Be that as it may, harassment within the workplace is by no means limited to the present dynamic.

Men that people don’t conform to traditionally masculine norms, at all are seen as outsiders, like LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming people, are often targets. It’s not only the bosses and associates who do the harassing. In nearly every sector, we found that it’s not just managers, supervisors, and people in power who sexually harass targets. Harassment can emerge out of coworkers, as is that the case for a couple of hostile work environment claims. Harassment is additionally seen as a normal practice from third parties’ point of view. That’s valid for fast-food restaurant workers within the low-wage arena, who are often harassed by customers, and for nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers who are often harassed by patients. It’s also valid for highly paid lawyers, who are often sexually harassed by opposing counsel, clients, and judges. Harassment is usually driven by narratives, myths, and norms about women, men, transgenders and workers. Harassment is filled, in part, by the stories, we tell ourselves and thus the narratives that we choose to believe.

Many organizations are often driven to guard perceived high performers, superstars, creative geniuses, and rainmakers within the smallest amount costs, thinking that success, innovation, or survival depends on one person, no matter their behavior. Narratives round the ideal worker and thus the breadwinner-homemaker ideal perpetuate a gender-harassing power dynamic established within the idea that girls who don’t conform to those traditional norms don’t have a place and can’t contend within the work world, while men don’t have a place in caregiving. These damaging mythologies don’t just drive rampant harassment, yet foster abusive and toxic cultures that silence, sideline, and waste the skills and potential of countless targets. Denial—thinking that harassment doesn’t happen in, say, female-dominated environments, or that organizations have already fixed it—is another powerful false narrative that gives fertile ground for harassment to thrive. The value of leaving jobs is high for several, which may encourage harassers, keep targets silent, and normalize harassment workers within the low-wage sector may tolerate harassment because they have their jobs to survive and have scarcely any options.

Male-dominated blue-collar jobs pay better than jobs in female-dominated sectors and thus the gender pay gap among men and ladies is among the tiniest of any sector. So targets—and bystanders—may sometimes ignore harassment, or refuse to file a complaint, in fear of losing a good-paying job with the promise of an edge within the bourgeoisie. Higher-wage professionals can also stay in toxic, sexually harassing environments because they’ve invested such tons education, time, and vitality into building their careers, networks, or reputations, that the danger of being labelled a pariah, or ostracized, can keep victims silent. All of which create work cultures where sexually harassing behavior can become normalized. Most reporting systems don’t work.

There are problems in each sector within the way organizations answer harassment complaints. In many settings, the system is usually acknowledged to fail, with victims required to report claims of harassment through a strict chain of command that always includes perpetrators or their allies. This effectively silences victims or freezes complaints. This has been a specific problem within the military, however, efforts are made to permit confidential reports to be made outside the chain of command. However, this ensures a stopgap measure of enabling the victim to receive support, not that the perpetrator is becoming to be counselled or punished or the culture that tolerates harassment are becoming to be changed within the tech sector, some male-dominated start-ups move so quickly that human resources and harassment policies are an afterthought, at best.

In low-wage settings especially, policies and reporting systems are often cloudy and far of workers, because of the sort of job they need (agricultural work) or status (undocumented), haven’t any access to reporting within the smallest amount. In producing this document, we struggled to chase out robust, consistent data, on a national, industry, or maybe organizational level that systematically documented the degree of harassment within the workplace. We also struggled to chase out solid research on the efficacy of our arsenal of responses thereto. Going forward, we’d like more top quality data on all levels, to further shine a light-weight on harassment and to elevate a variety of functional solutions that employment across different sectors and workplaces. Solutions must be targeted and aimed toward changing culture, systems and structures.

Most organizations typically have three primary responses to combat sexual harassment: ignoring complaints or harassment, firing a harasser, and offering harassment training. These approaches aren’t working. Firing a harasser may solve a selected problem within the short term. Offering a canned, digital harassment training, as is that the norm, may protect a corporation from legal liability, however, does little to vary its culture. Ignoring complaints and failing to acknowledge harassment creates toxic cultures that normalize harassment. None of those strategies is enough to answer to, forestall and end the harassment.


Harassment can cause a victim to experience everything from depression and anxiety to shame, guilt, and self-blame. The law and harassment are considered one of the primary steps in overcoming harassment is to acknowledge what happened to you and recognize that it had been off-base. Harassment is such an enormous issue that it’s regulated by the law. But, still, the normalization of this crime is the biggest failure. It is also against the law to form unwanted sexual advances, request sexual favours, touch someone inappropriately, make sexual remarks, engage in sexual bullying, and share sexually-offensive jokes. Anything sexual in nature that makes a hostile work environment is taken into account as harassment. Harassment isn’t limited to male-to-female abuse albeit it’s and away from the foremost common quite harassment. Female-to-female harassment, male-to-male harassment, and female-to-male harassment also happen and are against the law. Even other genders, like the transgender persons and people of LGBTQ, face much more harassment in their daily life than the genders. The Laws related to harassment are a failure if they aren’t properly implemented in the right direction. We need to understand that harassment can happen to anyone being it any gender or any age. Laws cannot do everything if people don’t have any humanity for attempting this kind of act.


1.     Alienaz Durana, Amanda Lenhart, Roselyn Miller, Brigid Schulte and Elizabeth Weingarten; Sexual Harassment: A Severe and Pervasive ProblemWhat Drives This Unwanted, Costly, and Damaging Behavior Across Industry Sectors by Wage and Gender [2018] Available at:

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Post Author: lawgical forum

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