Harassment victims in Canada have already suffered enough.
Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem that plagues our society. It’s easy to get caught up in the media headlines, but we must remember the real people who suffer from it. Sexual harassment is not a current event, something interesting to read about. It’s a serious crime that destroys lives.
The victims of harassment often feel trapped and endure the abuse until they can escape or the harasser moves on. Sometimes the victims kill themselves.
For those that survive, harassment often takes a toll on their career. Sexual harassment can cause severe mental health issues, with one in ten victims experiencing PTSD-level symptoms. In some cases, the harasser goes on to commit sexual assault, leading to new trauma for the victim.
I’m a survivor of prolonged and serious harassment, but I’m lucky to never have had to deal with sexual harassment.
The fight against sexual harassment and assault is not a passing trend or a social media hashtag. It’s an ongoing battle that requires our unwavering support and commitment to making the world a safer and more just place for everyone. We need to stand up for victims and work towards a society free from sexual violence.
Sexual harassment in Canada
Sexual violence in Canadian workplaces is an issue that leaves an indelible mark on the lives of many people. The statistics are staggering, and the reality is grim. According to Statistics Canada, 44% of women and 15% of men have experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment at work in their lifetime. These numbers are way too high. The statistics also show that men and women experience harassment (non-sexual in nature) evenly.
Even more concerning is the fact that a report by the Angus Reid Institute found that 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men reported experiencing sexual assault in the workplace. Sexual violence not only violates a person’s physical boundaries but also their emotional and psychological ones. The aftermath of sexual violence can leave deep-seated scars that can last a lifetime.
Despite the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment, many incidents go unreported. A survey by the Canadian Women’s Foundation found that 94% of women who experienced sexual harassment in the workplace did not report it to their employer. The reasons for this are complex and multifaceted, but they include fear of retaliation, disbelief, and shame.
Victims are real people, not statistics
These are not just numbers, but they represent real people who have suffered from pain, confusion, and shame. As someone who has been through severe harassment, I know that the trauma is not something that can be easily brushed off. Victims of sexual harassment are all around us; they are our friends, family members, colleagues, and even ourselves.
It’s time to center the conversation on the victims and let perpetrators know that their behaviour is not acceptable in any context. Sexual harassment and assault are never acceptable. As a society, we must do better by believing in survivors and supporting them. We need to be more empathetic and understanding towards harassment victims in Canada who have suffered from sexual violence.
Young people are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and abuse. They often experience serious mental issues when faced with it, and it’s our responsibility to support them. According to a survey conducted by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 57% of high school students reported experiencing sexual harassment, with girls more likely to report harassment than boys.
Effects of sexual harassment
The effects of sexual harassment and assault are long-lasting and widespread. For example, according to the World Health Organization, women who experience violence are more likely to have low birth weight babies and are at increased risk of HIV infection. Additionally, the costs of sexual violence are enormous. The United Nations estimates that sexual violence costs countries up to 3.7% of their GDP.
To combat sexual harassment and assault, we need a multi-faceted approach. This includes education programs that teach young people about consent, healthy relationships, and respect for others.
It also means empowering victims to speak out and providing them with the resources they need to heal. Employers should have clear policies and procedures in place to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. Perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions, and legal systems must be improved to ensure that victims have access to justice.
Sexual harassment and harassment are serious problems that affect us all. We must remember that behind the statistics are real people who have suffered. It’s our responsibility to support harassment victims in Canada, believes in survivors, and work toward a world free from sexual violence. Let’s make this a reality by moving from conversations and media articles to taking action… now.
Author: Alistair Vigier