On May 22nd we wrote about a new study which found that both men and women experience strong bodily reactions to sexual harassment. The main gender difference found was that women reacted more with worrying about their body image, binge eating, or restricting their diets, while men responded more with "compensatory behaviors" – by attempting to control their bodies by vomiting, and taking laxatives and diuretics.
Readers sent us their thoughts about this post:
Joan Lenihan, an attorney in New York wrote: “Unfortunately, this is not new especially in terms of women. Female victims of rape and incest often put on a lot of weight almost as a "shield" against future abuse. This reaction by women of sexual harassment seems consistent. However, as the report says men are victims too and react in their own way. The tragedy is that victims turn their anger in on THEMSELVES. This is all the more reason that we have to listen to and support victims as well as getting justice for them.”
Debbie Gonzalez, an HR/Safety manager from Tennessee noted: “I had a case several years ago in which a man had been harassed by his supervisor (female). Needless to say, I was able to observe his reactions in this scenario. He became nervous and watchful, quick to react to any co-workers who stared at him. He seemed to be continually embarrassed.”
Ted Cogdell, a diversity specialist with the federal government commented:
“My painful personal experiences tell me that the same (and much more) is true when I faced disability discrimination and retaliation for previous EEO activity.
The day you feel your employer is harming you, make an appt. for a blood test, measuring cholesterol levels, cortisol, etc. Consult with your doctor about what to screen for exactly. These tests are not cheap. That way, about two years later, if you get to hearing, you will have several blood tests under your belt, and you will be able to show how your blood has probably changed for the worse over the life of the case. Follow your doctor’s instructions after each reading of the results. This is important. If you don’t, agency counsel (if he or she knows how to litigate a case) will argue to the AJ that you did not make the effort to mitigate damages (take your cholesterol meds, or whatever), as required.
A lot of folks go before an AJ and answer the question of: How have you been harmed in this case? They will say, in part, "This case has really stressed me out." Well, that means little to an AJ and it can be difficult to assign damages to such a statement. But, if you have your testimony, the testimony of others, lab results from your blood work, etc., and your cortisol (stress hormone) and other important levels went up over time, that’s valuable and actionable damages data, if you prevail in your argument. Get a medical expert to testify what this is doing to you and what this will do to you over time. This, and other records, are important for what the lawyers call a "well-developed" record. These types of records will increase the changes of prevailing and help the AJ assign damages more in line with what you have actually suffered and will suffer in the future.”