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Helping Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Assault

Helping Survivors
Introducing a new workplace advocacy group!

Although I promised in the previous post that I would start a new series on toxic domestic relationships, someone from Helping Survivors recently reached out to me via email, and told me briefly about their organization, and some of the services it provides and offers. I would strongly encourage victims of sexual abuse and/or assault to visit their website and check out their offerings. Their main website is as follows:

In particular, this individual directed me to an invaluable resource about Sexual Assault in the Workplace. If you are a victim that is struggling with workplace sexual violence, I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of this resource, by visiting the webpage below:

I have taken the liberty to look through this resource, so that I can briefly summarize the contents in this blog post. In the "What is Sexual Assault in the Workplace" section, you will find the following:

  1. A definition of what assault is: an intentional action that makes you reasonably apprehensive of imminent harmful or offensive contact.

  2. A definition of what sexual assault is: any sexual behavior or contact that happens without your consent.

  3. Examples of sexual assault:

    1. Fondling

    2. Forced intercourse

    3. Attempted rape

    4. Forcible sodomy

    5. Incest

    6. Child molestation

  4. Situations in which a victim would be incapable of giving consent:

    1. Intoxication

    2. Disability

    3. Age

    4. Fear

    5. Others

  5. Statistics on sexual assault in the workplace:

    1. 38% of all women of all women reported workplace sexual abuse.

    2. 14% of all men have reported workplace sexual abuse.

    3. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) as many as 1/3 of all women report

The "What is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?" section includes the following information:

  1. A definition of Sexual Harassment as follows: behavior of a sexual nature that creates a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment in the workplace can be verbal, nonverbal, or even digital.

  2. Examples of verbal sexual harassment:

    1. Inappropriate comments

    2. Sexual jokes

    3. Flirting

  3. Examples of nonverbal sexual harassment:

    1. Facial expressions

    2. Staring

    3. Lewd or suggestive gestures

  4. Examples of digital sexual harassment:

    1. Sexual emails

    2. Sending pornographic content

    3. Online stalking

    4. Any verbal sexual harassment delivered digitally.

The Sexual Harassment v. Sexual Assault section includes the following information:

  1. The differences between Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault. Mainly...

    1. Sexual harassment is a broad term that encompasses any type of unwanted sexual attention, including acts or behavior of a nonphysical nature.

    2. Sexual assault largely consists of:

      1. Unwanted physical, sexual contact between the abuser and victim.

      2. A failed attempt of aforementioned unwanted physical, sexual contact.

  2. Additionally, there are statistics about at-risk individuals for sexual assault:

    1. Most sexual assault is committed against women.

    2. 1 out of 6 Americans experience rape.

    3. At risk groups:

      1. Female farm workers are at great risk of victimization.

      2. LBGT+ people are 4 times more likely than non-LBGT+ people to become victims of sexual assault.

      3. Isolated workers, such as janitors

      4. Undocumented immigrants

      5. Employees that work for tips

    4. Types of businesses were sexual assault is likely:

      1. Low-wage,

      2. Male-dominated

      3. Service-based

    5. 78% of female and 48% of male founders of startup companies have either been sexually harassed or knew someone who has been harassed.

In the How Workplace Sexual Assault Affects Mental and Physical Health, several negative health consequences are discussed including:

  1. Physical

    1. Bruising

    2. Bleeding

    3. Soreness

    4. Headaches

    5. Eating issues

    6. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  2. Mental

    1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    2. Depression

    3. Dissociation

    4. Panic attacks

    5. Anxieties

    6. Poor sleep

The Effects of Workplace Sexual Assault and Harassment on the Company can be far-reaching and negative in impact, contributing to:

  1. Gaps in leadership

  2. Drops in employee productive and performance

  3. Drops in employee retention

  4. Drops in hiring

  5. Legal charges:

    1. Criminal

    2. Civil

The guide then makes Recommendations for Prevention of Workplace Sexual Assault & Harassment

  1. Observe warning signs:

    1. Touchy abuser

    2. Abuser invades personal space

    3. Attempts by the abuser to make any of the following:

      1. Sexual conversations

      2. Sexual jokes

      3. Sharing pornographic images

      4. Quid pro quo requests to exchange work-relate favors for sexual favors.

      5. Retaliate by the abuser against the victim after filing a complaint.

      6. Make demeaning remarks about the victim's gender identity

  2. Gaps in leadership strongly advises employers to provide safe, effective methods for filing discrimination complains.

The article then concludes with recommendations to the abuser on What To Do If You Have Been Assaulted in the Workplace:

  1. Ensure your physical safety.

  2. Get tested:

    1. Obtain a rape kit or:

    2. Complete a sexual assault forensic exam

  3. Document any and all evidence:

    1. Cuts

    2. Bruises

    3. Other injuries

  4. Report your sexual assault by going here.

    1. Check if your workplace has a way to report sexual assault internally; this may be the easier option.

    2. Be mindful of statutes of limitations (or deadlines). In some cases, this can be as short as 2 years.

    3. Consider consulting with a workplace sexual assault lawyer, if you aren't sure about your case's statute of limitations. Sometimes, there are exceptions.

    4. Consider calling the National Sexual Assault Online hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), if your experience was especially traumatic, and you are experiencing a mental health crisis.

    5. Remember, you're not alone. Many people have experienced very similar situations, unfortunately. You don't have to deal with the shame, guilt and trauma all by yourself. Get help.

Although I have provided a brief synopsis of the Workplace Sexual Assault/Harassment Guide on the Helping Survivors website, I would strongly encourage you to see what other services this organization may have to offer you as a potential victim of Sexual Harassment or Assault. There are many interesting resources available on the website. Check it out!

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