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Health and financial effects of sexual harassment

Workplace sexual harassment is nothing new, but it is an issue that is seeing more awareness and recognition in our society. Thanks to the brave women partaking in the #MeToo movement, there is a spotlight on this pervasive and dangerous problem. One important thing that people are learning about is the various effects of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment in the workplace causes much more than just discomfort. Here are some of the ways that women suffer due to hostile work environments

Mental health

Victims of sexual harassment often suffer negative mental health consequences, including depression, PTSD and anxiety. Even when it does not cause or contribute to mental illness, sexual harassment can result in stress, loss of self-esteem and strain in personal relationships. 

Physical health

Harassers can also cause physical health problems for their victims. Common issues include headaches, sleep disturbances, headaches, weight fluctuations and loss of appetite. Exposure to stress and lack of sleep can lead to a risk of high blood pressure, hormonal imbalance and weaker immune systems. Plus, harassment can distract workers and put them at a higher risk of workplace accidents. 

Limitations to advancement opportunities

Becoming a better worker and advancing largely depends on mentorship and instructions from supervisors and experienced co-workers. But when harassment is a component in the workplace, it can reduce the chances of women accessing these learning opportunities and better pay. Victims of sexual harassment often step down from leadership roles, drop research projects or give up promotion opportunities to avoid their perpetrators. 

Unemployment and job changes

Some victims believe they need to leave their jobs in order to avoid sexual harassment. This results in either unemployment or quick job changes. Such effects can cause financial difficulties, especially when it is difficult to find new work. Some victims leave their field and careers entirely. 

Harassment has so many unacceptable effects on victims. Anyone facing harassment should consider their legal options.

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