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As much as we would like to believe that workplaces here in California and across the nation have become more enlightened and unwilling to tolerate sexual harassment in any form, this is far from the reality. Worse yet, studies show many victims of this demoralizing and illegal conduct choose not to report it.
Consider a meta-analysis undertaken by researchers with the University of British Columbia and the University of Michigan, which found that only 25-33 percent of people victimized by sexual harassment report it to a union representative or supervisor, and that the number of people who actually go on to file a formal complaint drops to a mere 2 to 13 percent.
Furthermore, this meta-analysis discovered that going forward, victims are most likely to avoid their harasser, dismiss the severity of the incident or simply ignore problematic behavior.
This naturally begs the question as to why people are so disinclined to take the necessary action, something that might otherwise seem so simple to outside observers.
There are essentially three primary reasons why victims are reluctant to come forward:
As discouraging as all this is, experts indicate there are ways in which employers can not only combat sexual harassment, but also encourage employee reporting:
Above all else, those who have been victimized by sexual harassment must understand that they have options for pursuing justice and making sure their voice is heard.