It seems that every day, a new public figure is accused of sexual harassment. On one hand, this is a positive thing– it indicates that victims of sexual harassment are finally comfortable coming forward, that sexual abusers are being held accountable and that the media is not ignoring the problem. On the other hand, it also means that sexual harassment is still alive and well.
The cases have had an unintended consequence: Many sexual harassment victims once again feel traumatized and emotionally overwhelmed. As demonstrated by a recent article in the Frederick News Post, many Frederick women who have been sexually harassed must now relive their trauma as new allegations stream forward.
A traumatic time for harassment victims
Sexual harassment in the workplace often brings feelings of shame, frustration and anger. Even after taking legal action against an employer, these feelings don’t always go away. They may sometimes fade, but, as many women are reporting, high-profile cases of sexual harassment can make survivors feel as raw as if the incident happened yesterday.
Not only have the public scandals taken over news media and popular culture, they have spilled into social media as well. Over the past few weeks, many victims used the hashtag #metoo to describe their experiences with sexual abuse. This online campaign no doubt raised crucial awareness, but it filled up social media with triggering references to sexual harassment that left many victims feeling traumatized all over again.
How to cope
The many public allegations of sexual harassment may feel overwhelming. For victims of harassment in the workplace, it is crucial to have some coping strategies. A few ways to handle recent events include:
- Taking a social media break. If your social media feed leaves you feeling triggered, take a much-needed vacation from Facebook.
- Talking to a licensed mental health professional. A skilled counselor, therapist or psychologist can help you deal with your sexual harassment experience.
- Consulting an attorney. It is crucial to have an attorney who can seek justice for victims of sexual harassment.
- Building a support network. Surround yourself with friends, family and other people you can open up to about your experiences.