Sexual harassment whistleblowers are paving the way for women to feel safer in the workplace. It’s not easy being a whistleblower, but speaking up really is making a positive difference.
The more that victims and bystanders report sexual harassment, the better things become. In light of the #MeToo movement, more people are finally taking a stand and it’s making companies safer.
Encouraging Others To Speak Up
When only one person comes forward, it turns into a he said/she said situation. However, now that more sexual harassment whistleblowers are stepping forward, others are feeling more confident about speaking up too. Instead of one person’s voice against another, it becomes multiple victims speaking out against the perpetrator.
Implementing Stronger Policies
Sexual harassment used to be swept under the rug. Victims, especially women, would be fired for saying anything. However, whistleblowers have far more protections than they used to have. Plus, with more people coming forward, companies can’t just ignore the issue any longer. This means businesses are becoming far less tolerant of sexual harassment in the workplace. They’re implementing stronger policies and processes for dealing with reports, including implementing whistleblower hotlines.
Less Overall Sexual Harassment
In a sexual harassment workplace study between 2016 and 2018, women were surveyed about their workplace experience before and after #MeToo. The percentage of women reporting being sexually coerced dropped from 25% to 16%. An even bigger jump was unwanted sexual attention dropping from 66% to 25%. The negative here was gender harassment did increase.
While the above study focused on women, it found that sexual harassment whistleblowers are helping to improve women’s self-esteem in the workplace. Of course, if sexual harassment has decreased, it’s possible that male victims are also feeling more confident and safe as well. Higher self-esteem makes employees happier, which can actually help boost productivity and lead to employees staying longer, lower turnover rates.
While some workplaces are still struggling with this one, as more and more sexual harassment whistleblowers come forward, it’s harder for businesses to allow retaliation. Whistleblowers often have the support of co-workers, along with ample evidence to support their claims. This means when retaliation does happen, the whistleblower isn’t afraid to take their evidence public and prove they were treated poorly or even fired as a result of reporting sexual harassment. This is making businesses take a much harsher stance on retaliation.
Improved Sexual Harassment Training and Policies
Many businesses didn’t have any real sexual harassment training or policies in place before sexual harassment whistleblowers started speaking up more often. In light of far more victims filing reports, businesses are being forced to implement training that helps reduce sexual harassment. It also helps bystanders recognize the signs.
When sexual harassment policies are in place, these should also include how to safely report incidents. Many now include how to use a company-wide anonymous whistleblower hotline. This encourages more victims and bystanders to report incidents.
Overall, sexual harassment whistleblowers are creating a better workplace. While it’s not perfect, it’s becoming much better than it’s been in decades.