ALBANY, N.Y. (WUTR) — A 2018 Stop The Street Harassment survey found that 81% of women and 43% of men have experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lifetimes.
In 2020, more than 11,000 sexual harassment claims were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Sexual harassment in and out of the workplace is an ongoing cultural issue, and it’s particularly prominent in a post-#MeToo New York where the governor is accused of several such transgressions.
Dianne Stancato, the CEO of YWCA Mohawk Valley, says that if this happens in the workplace, to confront it directly. “Oftentimes, honestly, it is a misunderstanding. Oftentimes, it’s maybe an overture, but an unwanted one. And once you say, ‘This is unwanted,’ many men will say ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you,’ and then it’s done,” she said.
We asked, what if you’re not comfortable addressing the person?
“There’s a power dynamic. For instance, this might be your boss and you might be worried about your job,” Stancato said. “If it’s your immediate supervisor that’s offended you, who has harassed you, then you go to your HR department. If you don’t have those you go to any person in leadership.”
The EEOC defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. It’s unlawful, and if those methods don’t work, then you can take legal actions, especially if you’re faced with retribution.
“You can file complaints without attorneys in these situations with the division of human rights and also with the EEOC. They shouldn’t be afraid because you have a right to feel comfortable and safe in the workplace,” Stancato said.