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How Can Sexual Harassment Impact Your Mental Health?b

May 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Health, Money/Business, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.comWherever you are, you deserve to feel safe. You should have to feel like you can’t go out without being harassed by other people. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or what you look like, sexual harassment is a crime and in 2018 it should not still be happening. And yet, sexual harassment is still as rife as ever, particularly in the workplace. Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that when it comes to this kind of harassment, it can have a hugely negative impact on your mental health, causing such serious damage that you may struggle to do your job properly.

While sexual harassment is nothing new, since celebrities have begun speaking up about their experiences with this kind of treatment, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there is still a serious problem. Through the stories of victims who have spoken out about high profile cases of harassment, it’s become clear that the impact of this kind of treatment can be life-long and can have a serious impact on both physical and mental wellbeing.

Experts in the field of mental health and sexual harassment have found that people who have been harassed in this way are much more likely to develop mental health problems including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The impact is much more in-depth that it was once thought, making this kind of serious breach of workplace ethics even more concerning.

Below, we’ve delved a little deeper into the impact of sexual harassment in the workplace on your mental health, to better help you understand the impact this kind of uninvited behavior can lead to.

It’s not all in your mind

First things first, it’s important to understand that when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s not all in your head, it’s also in your body too. The impact of sexual harassment can cause physical symptoms as well as emotional ones. When a person is assaulted in this way, although it’s not a physical assault, the impact can cause the body to go into shock, eliciting physical symptoms such as shaking, excessive sweating and nausea. This kind of experience can be terrifying and can also lead to the onset of a panic attack, which can be incredibly difficult to control. It’s completely normal to feel a physical impact from this kind of assault, and it’s vital that people begin to realize that.

You may struggle to concentrate

When you’re at work, you are in the place that you were sexually harassed, and so it’s natural that you find it difficult to focus and concentrate. It’s not easy to work when you can’t help but feel panicked and scared, both of which are normal reactions to this kind of harrowing experience. What it’s important to remember is that it will get better in time, it’s just a case of taking some time for your mind (and your body) to heal. Of course, the process of healing is different for everyone, but a lot of sexual harassment survivors find that undergoing therapy can be extremely helpful when it comes to their journey to mental healing. This is a service that your workplace HR team should provide, seeing as the harassment happened while you were at work.

You can take legal action

If your mental health has been seriously affected by what has happened to you, and it’s got to the point where you are struggling to do your job properly, you can take legal action against the person who committed the harassment, as well as potentially against your workplace for failing to protect your properly. There are some fantastic sexual harassment attorneys out there that can help you to get what you are owed. It’s not easy working in an environment where you feel unsafe, which can have a huge impact on your work and mindset while at work, which is why you may feel the need to consult a lawyer. Why should you lose your job or get in trouble for not completing work on time when you aren’t the cause of the problem? You have done nothing wrong, and if your workplace won’t take action regarding what’s happened to you, then you have to. Otherwise, your career could be seriously impacted by your mental health that results from being sexually harassed at work.

You may need to change roles

Some people who have been sexually harassed at work find that their mental health can’t cope with continuing to work in the same environment. When this happens, the best thing to do is to look for another job, because otherwise, your mental health will most probably get worse over time. You may love your job and like what you do, but if being harassed has meant that you no longer feel comfortable working where you do, you need to take action and change jobs. The fact is that you have to think about what’s best for you – what you need to be able to function effectively at work, and if working where you worked when the harassment occurred is too hard, you need to take a leap of faith and change roles. Sometimes, you just need a fresh start.

Many people don’t realize it but sexual harassment at work can have a serious and long-lasting effect on victims. It’s not easy coping with this kind of uninvited sexual advances, and that’s why it can have such a serious and wide-reaching impact. If you’ve been sexually harassed at work, it’s normal to feel scared and embarrassed, but you shouldn’t be afraid to speak out, after all, if no one speaks out it won’t stop. You can’t let your harasser get away with it, you need to take a stand and ensure that this doesn’t continue to happen, and the best way to do that is to tell someone what’s been going on. It won’t be easy to do, but once you’ve done it you will feel so much better for it.

Staff Writer; George Brown

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