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Many sexual harassment cases go unreported

According to authorities, one thing that might skew data about the prevalence of sexual harassment is the fact that not everyone reports it. Many times in these incidents, including cases of sexual harassment in the workplace, an individual might be afraid to speak out about it in fear of retaliation or might just figure that it is not a big deal.

Everyone, both men and women, are susceptible to sexual harassment. It can also happen anywhere from school to the workplace. When it happens at the workplace, it creates a hostile work environment that a professional is forced to suffer through.

While it might seem like a very elementary notion, identifying the exact definition of sexual harassment is important. To many people, sexual harassment is a very vague term and they might overlook sexual harassment that is happening right in front of them. Sexual harassment is classified as any sort of behavior that makes one feel uncomfortable about their sex or sexuality.

Sexual harassment is significantly different from sexual assault. A sexual assault could be considered the physical act of raping another while sexual harassment can include unwanted touching, but also verbal remarks.

Experts have noticed one type of sexual harassment found often in the workplace -- we know it as quid pro quo sexual harassment. This is when two people trade sexual favors for a promotion or other advantage tied to their employment.

Sexual harassment can leave a lasting effect on the victim causing anything from paranoia and depression to fear. This is why it is so important that victims report such behavior. Even if a person opts not to bring the complaint to a superior or someone of power, they should at least indicate it in their own records. That way, they create what is called a paper trail, which chronicles the behavior.

Men and women should also speak up. If someone says something that causes discomfort, that person should let him or her know right away to put an end to the behavior.

Source: Northern Star, "Some victims may not report sexual assault, harassment," Hailey Kurth, April 1, 2012

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