Sexual Harassment isn’t just physical – Nobody talks about the mental impacts!

Those subtle comments about how “hot” the length of your dress is might not necessarily be physical but it still accounts for sexual harassment.

Objectification is always considered viable if it’s physical and not otherwise. The scars and the imprints on the skin is seen but does anybody talk about the mental harassment that people often have to bear?

The languid throw of the offensive phrases and the constant scanning from top to toe with the eyes might not leave any sort of physical marks on the body that’s visible but scars one mentally to no bounds.

It goes without saying that the repercussions are way too ghastly and impactful than what you would normally witness.

With the revolutionized impacts of the #MeToo movement, the horrifying truth of so many people came to the fore front. And one thing that did stand out of them all was the fact that these women had to suffer through these traumatic events in their workplace.

What is it that we know?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a leading cause of several deaths around that not many people are even aware of.

Statistics around sexual harassment in workplace suggest that the victim hasn’t been able to get justice because majority of them included mental harassment. This is where the problem arises. We are all so engrossed pointing out the repercussions of the physical atrocities of sexual harassment that we fail to voice out the problems when it comes to the mental harassment.

In a published report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Council, it was mentioned that 25-85% of women experience sexual harassment in their workplace. This is just the beginning of it, there have been several conducted researchers which suggest that every 1 in 5 women experience some kind of sexual harassment in their work place, be it physical or mental.

The #MeToo movement created a revolution where women and men and non-binary people came out with their stories of sexual assault that they have experienced over the course of years. The one thing that people fail to understand is the kind of onslaught of mental dilemma that a person goes through when they have someone influential suppressing their freedom and violating their honour.

Stop Street Harassment, which is a non-profit organisation, wanted to clear the air and find out the exact numbers when it comes to the kind of harassment people (both men and women) face on a daily basis in their lives.

In an online survey, they found that 81% of women and 43% of men suffer from the traumas of sexual harassment on an average. These numbers are way more than what the suggestive numbers say. This is what itself should ring a bell why it is necessary to have stricter laws against the assaulters.

Additionally, when we come to talking about the verbal harassment, a conducted report suggests that 71% of women have experience verbal harassment during their lifetime, be it with being catcalled or even being eyed indifferently.

Sexual Harassment And Its Impacts On Mental Health

In yet another published report from Stop Street Harassment, it suggests that the impacts of sexual harassment isn’t limited to the physical barriers of the skin, the impacts reside within one’s self.

Impacts of sexual harassment on mental health are real. It has been found to induce risks of anxiety, depression, and the other tropes of “not being their natural self” which they were prior to the happening.

Source: Stop Street Harassment

This report shows a comparative study of the kind of mental impacts that the victims suffer through after their episode of being harassed or assaulted.

Experts suggest that victims have the common nature of changing up their entire life rather than confronting their harasser because it is that tough to prepare yourself. Granted, there isn’t any guarantee that coming out and exposing the harasser would bring in some peace in their life because of the loopholes that are prevalent in the judiciary system.

What is the worst part?

While the lack of exposure around this topic is the first problem, there are some other issues surrounding it that does make this even worse.

According to a report, it suggests that 75% of the victims who have reported of harassment at their workplace have experienced retaliation.

One of the most common phrases of sexual harassment in workplace that many tend to say is, “Why didn’t she report about it?”

And the irony is, when the victim does, she is either brushed under the rug or retaliated upon, making her claims stand no validation.

Victims tend to have the opinion that they would not be believed which is one of the primary reasons why they don’t act upon the crime.

The other worse thing is the kind of justice that is served to the people who come out reporting the crime. The lack of action or even the complete dismissal is often one of the primary reasons behind the lack of reports against workplace harassment that come up.

Would you be surprised if we mentioned that reports suggest that 87-84% of the employees who have been harassed in their workplace do not file a formal complaint required to get the necessary results from the judicial system.

What is it that you can do?

When it comes to the stands that one can take, it can be divided into two prospects:

If you are the victim:

  • Talk to someone you are close to and confide in them
  • Gain the necessary support that you need
  • Report it to the anti-harassment committee that you have in the company. If you get no response from the, escalate the matter to the next level. If they are silent too, file an official complaint with the police.
  • Make up your mind that retaliation is a part of the process
  • If you find the workspace unsafe, submit your papers and walk out

If you are an employee in the company:

  • Stop blaming the victim
  • If reports come out against someone superior to you, be firm on your decision of supporting what is just
  • Stand with the person who has already suffered silently
  • Stop encouraging such behaviour in the work place
  • Understand that sexist jokes for the laugh aren’t actually funny


It is important that you know the law when it comes to sexual harassment, be it on the streets, in the public transport or even inside the office you are working in. It is very important to educate yourself and spread better awareness.

While you might be reading this, one person could have been harassed or assaulted in the meantime. Take the steps necessary and ensure that you stand with the victim.

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