Although this article is about rape, remember that rape can, unfortunately, be the outcome of harassment, pushed to the extreme. Reporting harassment or rape can be a challenge, but not reporting it protects no one but the criminal who perpetrated the assault.
In this article, the all too common situation of police inactivity is addressed. That isn’t always – or inevitably – the case, but we have to be proactive. KNOW that your situation means more to you than it will to anyone else. If the police drop the ball, YOU pick it up. COMPLAIN! If you complain to the police (there are departments for that), and nothing is done, go up the hierarchy. The police commissioner, the mayor, the governor? If you still haven’t gotten results, do talk to a lawyer and then bring out the heavy artillery – the press! Talk to every tv news show, radio show, newspaper you can find. SHAME the authorities into action. You will feel empowered, believe me. It’s a battle worth the time and effort (especially if it results in the criminal landing behind bars, where he belongs).
In the case of reporting sexual harassment at work, if your boss does nothing, there are other options (gone into more fully in my e-book – see below) – go to the owner of the company, your union, or talk to a lawyer. Of course, if your boss IS the owner of the company, and you have no union, a lawyer could be what it takes to scare them enough to end the objectionable behavior. OR, you could quit and really protect yourself from further harassment. I know it isn’t always easy to just quit, if you have yourself and/or a family to support, but how much is your safety worth? Because you’re risking it by staying.
When I had 3 sexual harassment lawsuits (I sued the employer, the union and the harasser), the union had the nerve to tell my lawyer that they didn’t HAVE to do anything about my 3 harassment complaints – it wasn’t in their by-laws! So, I took their by-laws to a NOW meeting, read them out, they provided a laugh, and then the legal minds at NOW re-wrote the by-laws, to make them legally binding. When they were presented to the local delegate at the union’s yearly convention, they were adopted almost unanimously (minus one lone vote – and from a woman!).
THERE ARE WAYS OF MAKING THINGS HAPPEN. It just takes courage, determination, stubbornness, and refusing to be a passive victim. Your harasser/rapist wasn’t passive. You can’t afford to be.
Don’t let the article put you off reporting assault. It doesn’t always turn out this way…
Remember, APRIL IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT AWARENESS MONTH!