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Recovering from workplace sexual harassment

What do you do after you’ve experienced sexual harassment at work? Even if it’s over, the lingering effects of your experience may continue to dominate your thoughts for some time.

You may be left feeling shocked, angry, scared or even depressed. It’s demoralizing to experience sexual harassment anywhere — but having it happen in your workplace also makes you feel like your livelihood could be at risk. You may be concerned how other employees see you now. Feeling like some of them see you as a victim and some of them dismiss you as a complainer and not feeling comfortable with any of them is also common. You may even be questioning your place there and whether or not it’s time to look elsewhere.

Victim of sexual harassment also report a lot of physical symptoms of stress after their experiences. Trouble sleeping, eating disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, high blood pressure and headaches aren’t unusual.

How can you cope and move on?

Write in a journal

You may not even really be sure how you are feeling until you see what you write. A journal can help you not only take stock of your feelings but track your recovery.

Seek out a therapist

Therapy is an excellent way to address a lot of the psychological and physiological symptoms you might be feeling. It can also give you a safe space to explore your options for the future as you work out whether or not you want to look for another position elsewhere.

Look for group support

With the “Me Too” movement gaining ground, there are plenty of support groups out there for women and men who are struggling with the trauma of sexual harassment. Group therapy is a good place to start building up your self-esteem and your willingness to trust other people again.

Decide how you want closure

Closure means different things to different people. It can mean changing jobs or changing careers. It may mean going ahead with a lawsuit so you can face your sexual harasser in court. It can mean volunteering to talk about your experience in public. Whatever it is to you, it can help you take back your personal power.

If you’re struggling to regain your emotional and physical health after being sexually harassed, don’t be afraid to reach out to a legal and health care professional for help.

Source: verywellmind.com, “How to Heal From Workplace Sexual Harassment,” Sherri Gordon, accessed April 04, 2018

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