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How to cope with sexual harassment

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2023 | Sexual Harassment |

How to cope with sexual harassment


Victims of sexual harassment, especially that involving sexual assault, need to go through a tremendous healing process. The trauma may last longer than expected. You may find it hard to open up even to closest friends and family as it can be difficult to fathom for non-victims how the damage affected you—not only physically but on an emotional and mental level as well.

It can help to contact an attorney and the appropriate anti-discrimination agencies to help you with potential legal claims.  Beyond these, if you are struggling with the complex emotions that come with being sexually harassed, here are some tips that could help:

Validate your feelings

When an individual experiences physical or emotional discomfort, the initial reaction may be to suppress the difficult emotions. This urge to shift to “feeling good” right away might lead you to feel trapped in toxic optimism or persistent counterproductive self-talk that invalidates your feelings.

Allow yourself to sit with uncomfortable emotions, acknowledge if there is pain, shame, or confusion, and remember that there is nothing wrong with your feelings. Noting the discomfort without letting it consume you is one of the healthiest ways to cope.

Reclaim your power

Victims of sexual harassment may feel hopeless or helpless. You may feel shame, guilt or may pity yourself. These are normal reactions, but they are not necessarily true. It is not easy to move on from this kind of experience. You can reclaim your power by using words of affirmation.

Another way you can reclaim your power is by taking legal action against your abuser. You can also join a support group, ask a reliable and supportive friend or family to attend meetings or seek a mental health professional. Getting support from a mental health professional during this time is vital. Proper therapy may make it easier to deal with these issues.

Avoid blaming yourself

Another critical point to remember is to avoid blaming yourself. You may still be confused about the relationship dynamics you shared with the person who harassed you, but the last thing victims need to hear is that the assault is their fault. Trust yourself enough to remember that the harassment is the abuser’s fault and no one else. Blaming yourself may lower your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

One crucial step in the healing process is holding the organization responsible for their mistreatment. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can gain a measure of closure by trying to ensure that the employer is held accountable for its actions. Do not hesitate to explore your legal rights after you experience harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

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