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Few victims report sexual harassment to supervisors

If it feels like there are major political news stories everyday, you aren't alone. This has been a trend since last year, and recently one of the big lightning rod stories has been the mutual acknowledgement of Bill O'Reilly and FOX News that the commentator could no longer have a space on FOX's airwaves in light of numerous sexual harassment lawsuits against O'Reilly.

This is certainly a sign of progress that the idea of sexual harassment shouldn't be normalized. Ousting people who hold prominent jobs that the public notices and who are continuously accused of sexual harassment is important to combat this narrative that sexual harassment is an overblown problem.

Consider for a moment that a CBS poll in September found that 78 percent of women and 71 percent of men believe sexual harassment exists in the workplace. Now compare that to the mere 37 percent of victims who actually reported sexual harassment to a supervisor. This is a telling divide in the world of sexual harassment: most people are aware of the issue and acknowledge it is a problem, but few people are confident enough to report it.

The reason for fear is real. Unfortunately, some companies take retaliatory action against people who report sexual harassment. This is illegal and they deserve to be punished for such actions -- but they take these actions nonetheless. There is also a fear that "nothing will happen," as in the company hearing about this harassment won't investigate or punish the perpetrator.

These are understandable and real fears, but they shouldn't discourage anyone from standing up and reporting sexual harassment. The law is on your side if you have been sexually harassed in the workplace. Uphold your rights and hold reckless people responsible for their actions.

Source: CBS News, "Workplace sexual harassment at a 'tipping point of public attention,'" Alex Wagner, April 20, 2017

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