Respect sexual harassment claims to refute culprits and enablers

Surmountable Governance Issues
Oct 22, 2022
5 min read
Sexual harassment claims should be respected / iStock
If you need help after being a victim:
• of street harassment, please call 855-897-5910 or chat here
• of sexual assault, please call 800-656-HOPE or chat in English or Spanish
• of sexual assault in the military, please call 877-995-5247 or chat securely

Issue 40 • Week of October 16, 2022

The MeToo movement sparked an international outcry against sexual harassment five years ago this week via a simple but effective hashtag shared 19 million times. Founder Tarana Burke and fellow "Silence Breakers" who risked public scrutiny to shed light on the scale of the problem were named Time's Person of the Year.

Even after these relevations, only one third of men believe there is a very common underreporting of cases. Yet fewer than 8,000 official claims are submitted to the government every year in contrast to nearly half of women who have experienced sexual harassment at work. More than 70% of those filed recently include charges of retaliation that reinforce a hesitation to pursue accountability.

There have been real gains for victim rights since then in cracking down on gag orders in the form of NDAs and mandatory arbitration, but one in five American adults have still never heard of #MeToo. How can we expect further change when the message of one of the largest social movements in history has not reached 20% of the electorate?

Plus, we have legislation that is supposed to protect against these actions.

Why haven't laws been more effective deterrents to sexual harassment and how can we evolve as a society?

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