Although recent years have shown a renewed effort to change this, the reality is that many victims of sexual harassment still choose not to report it.
Likewise, many witnesses to workplace misconduct, including sexual harassment, choose to rationalize or it or try to ignore it rather than raising their concerns through the appropriate channels.
According to at least one expert, a lot of people choose to remain silent because of the unique nature of the work environment. By way of comparison, for instance, many people would not hesitate to contact authorities if they got harassed or observed sexual harassment in public, but they would hesitate if the same, or worse, behavior happened at the office.
One of the reasons people choose not to report is the fear that, despite laws prohibiting retaliation, they will face repercussions at work. Many people are dependent on their jobs both financially and even emotionally, and the thought of endangering one’s job is just in their minds too much of a risk.
Likewise, many employers, even if they are remaining within the letter of the law, in reality do not have a system that discourages this sort of behavior. What is or is not sexual harassment is, legally, a complicated matter, and perpetrators and their employers may try a number of excuses, including the fact that actions were simply misinterpreted or isolated cases of bad judgment.
Likewise, many employers feel that they are taking the high road just by having an established reporting channels and offering periodic, and oftentimes generic, training.
There is room for improvement in society as a whole when it comes to preventing sexual harassment. In the interim, though, victims in the Denver area should remember that legal advocacy is available to them should they need help with speaking up and getting the justice they deserve.