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Why don't women report sexual harassment in the workplace?

There are many reasons why women from a range of industries choose to remain silent. However, it is important for these women to remember that they always have a place to turn to.

No one should have to tolerate sexual harassment, and yet, many do.

The process

Many women choose not to go through the often arduous process of reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. For just one example, look no further than the nation's capitol. Congressional staffers who experience sexual harassment need to bring it to the attention of the U.S. Congress Office of Compliance within 180 days of the incident. The victim then has to undergo 30 days of counseling, and then decide whether to pursue additional mediation after 15 days. It is a long, difficult process, so many women choose to stay silent in lieu of dealing with a system set up against them. 

"Playing the game"

Many women mistakenly believe that in order to advance through a company's ranks, they need to play along and not rock the boat. Therefore, they choose to ignore or shake off a derogatory remark. While a person may make one joke in bad taste, persistent behavior should never go unnoticed. 

Women also fear the threat of retaliation. Failing to laugh at a joke or turning down a co-worker's advances may lead to fewer advancement opportunities down the road. Women fear for their careers in already competitive industries, and it can lead to complacency. 


Many women do not want to admit to themselves when something terrible happens. It is easier to push those memories to the back of the mind and simply move forward with work. However, it is important to remember that a majority of women deal with sexual harassment at one point or another. People should never feel as though they are alone in these battles. By being open about experiences, women may even help other people come forward with their own stories. 

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