Sexual harassment has been an issue in Iowa and across the nation for many years. Its prevalence and the impunity with which those who take part in the activities believe they can behave has contributed to the culture and stopped people from filing a sexual harassment claim or even saying that they have been a victim of harassment. However, the floodgates have seemingly opened in industries across the spectrum. Although the government, Hollywood and the news business are the ones that attract notice, greater vigilance and acceptance that this occurs regularly is sparking increased reporting.
More and more people are coming forward with their own experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace and Iowans are becoming more comfortable in exposing those who have harassed them. Advocacy groups that help victims of sexual harassment in the state say that the hashtag #MeToo has inspired people to speak out. It is imperative for a victim of harassment to understand that the simple fact that he or she might not be in an industry that will garner headlines due to the reports of harassment is not a reason to stay silent.
There are many ways in which harassment can occur and it does not necessarily limit itself to unwanted sexual advances. Jokes, comments and the like can slowly progress until the perpetrator feels emboldened not just with the absence of protest but with the lack of consequences. As more people are exposed and they are those who were once viewed as upstanding people like Matt Lauer, former host of the Today Show on NBC, #MeToo allows others to state their case and how they were mistreated.
Despite the growing freedom and willingness to speak out about sexual harassment, there might still be fear that nothing will be done or reporting unwarranted and illegal behavior will negatively affect a person’s work status. When this behavior is occurring, those who have been victimized should not be afraid to protest and seek compensation. A legal filing can be made with assistance of an attorney who is experienced in helping clients who have faced sexual harassment.