AcasăTerapiiPsihologieHărțuirea sexuală la locul de muncă: Cauze și consecințe - Descoperă lumea...

Hărțuirea sexuală la locul de muncă: Cauze și consecințe – Descoperă lumea înfricoșătoare a agresiunii!

Hărțuirea sexuală la locul de muncă: Cauze și consecințe – Descoperă lumea înfricoșătoare a agresiunii!

Lately, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of public reports of sexual harassment in the workplace by various well-known individuals. What does this problem consist of? Under what circumstances does it occur? Sexual harassment is defined as a multifactorial social phenomenon where various dimensions can be distinguished that influence its origin and maintenance. It is a problem whose existence has been documented by numerous research studies due to the serious repercussions it has on the victims and the organization. In the same line, it consists of a form of harassment developed through various manifestations of a sexual nature. Additionally, one of its consequences is the creation of an unfavorable, intimidating, and offensive work environment that can affect the skills and well-being of the affected person. Furthermore, in recent weeks, a new alarm has been raised in relation to this issue as a result of the proliferation of various reports in different media outlets by public figures in the United States. Spanish actresses such as Aitana Sánchez Gijón or Carla Hidalgo have also joined this initiative, contributing to the confirmation of an alarming reality that requires appropriate intervention and prevention. On the other hand, due to the lack of awareness about this social problem, various myths about it have spread. One of the most common is its consideration as an isolated fact, characteristic of small companies with employees in precarious work situations. However, thanks to research studies, it has been shown that it is not an isolated or extraordinary behavior, but rather a recurring one. Therefore, it is a form of violence that violates the rights of individuals, generating serious repercussions of different nature, and whose origin can be facilitated by various work conditions (job positions, relationships between colleagues…) or personal factors of the individuals involved. Likewise, this violence can be carried out through different behavioral modalities: Physical. They can manifest through various forms of contact such as touching, brushing, or patting, and in more extreme cases, even rape or coercion. Verbal. They mainly appear in the form of sexual insinuations, obscene comments, flirting, etc. Non-verbal. Some examples include the display of sexual material (photographs, videos, writings), gestures, glances, etc. This great variety of manifestations of sexual harassment has made it difficult to define behaviors that could be included under this designation, which may have influenced the identification and reporting of such behaviors since the socio-cultural context may have normalized some of these behaviors. Consequently, it is difficult to determine the prevalence of this problem because, in many cases, it is masked within legitimate behaviors or the reporting is hindered by factors such as fear of lack of credibility from the environment or fear of job loss. However, a survey conducted by the Women’s Secretariat of Comisiones Obreras indicated that around 14.5% of workers have experienced some form of sexual harassment throughout their professional lives. Factors related to sexual harassment at work Through various studies, sexual harassment in the workplace has been linked to factors of various kinds. Initially, this form of violence was associated solely with gender issues due to the higher prevalence, at least in the number of reports, among women. Likewise, aspects such as sexual discrimination, the proportion of men and women within companies, the types of positions or tasks they perform, and the sexualization of the work environment have contributed to the perpetuation of this belief. However, a greater number of research studies and documented cases have debunked this idea and confirmed that this is a problem that also affects men, although to a lesser extent. In addition, other variables have been observed in many people who experience this type of violence: young individuals who have recently joined a company, immigrants or members of ethnic minorities, individuals with low income and basic or intermediate education. Likewise, the consolidation and perpetuation of sexual harassment has been correlated with individuals who have been harassed over a long period of time and who, for various reasons, resort to reporting it as a last resort. Conversely, years later there is a change in the nature of this type of violence, becoming considered a consequence of power relationships in the workplace. Within this perspective, there was a higher proportion of cases between individuals of different hierarchical positions within the same company, where the superior exercises their power to make the other person comply with certain demands and, in this way, not lose any benefits related to their job position. As a result, the fear of losing one of these benefits or of being definitively dismissed is one of the main factors that hinder the reporting of these types of problems. However, it should be noted that a great number of cases have been observed among individuals who occupy similar positions in their work. Therefore, we must take into account that this is a multifactorial process in which it is impossible to reduce the cause of this problem to simplist explanations such as power relations or gender issues. In the same line, we must acknowledge that this social problem, despite occurring within a specific institution, is based on interpersonal relationships. For this reason, in addition to the corporate nature of the company, it is necessary to take into account the intra- and inter-subjective characteristics of those involved, such as the reproduction of conscious or unconscious action and bonding patterns established through previous interactions with other significant figures. Consequences of sexual harassment There are various difficulties that a person who has suffered or is currently experiencing sexual harassment in their workplace faces. The impact is evident, especially in the psychological realm. The main consequences are as follows: Low self-esteem. The person’s integrity is affected as a result of the assaults and humiliations, and feelings of worthlessness that the victim tends to experience are important to note. Believing that they are weaker than their colleagues or that they are unable to confront the harasser is common. Feelings of anger, frustration, and rage are also frequent. Decreased motivation. Being harassed at work inevitably leads to a decrease in the desire to go to work, given that the aggressor is there and it is where the violence takes place. This lack of motivation, driven by the fear of the assaults being repeated, in some cases results in absenteeism in the workplace. Changes in relationships. The person’s relationships are disrupted. Not only in the harasser-harassed relationship but also with other colleagues. Additionally, this situation can affect relationships that are not within the work environment. That is, other significant relationships of the person being attacked. This refers to the greater difficulties that may arise in the socio-affective area of this individual (family, partner, friends, etc.). Lower work performance and increased accidents. Mental dullness often leads to cognitive difficulties: decreased concentration, memory problems, difficulties with attention and information processing…, which in turn increases the accident rates in jobs involving physical risks. Repercussions on mental health. Stress, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, or depression are the most common psychological pathologies experienced in the described situation. Sleeping disorders. Difficulty falling asleep or the quality of sleep is affected due to fear and/or mental agitation. Nightmares during the REM stage of sleep are also very common, with some individuals even reliving the harassment situation. Behavioral changes. Ceasing to carry out certain actions that were previously routine (for example, during break time, during lunch…). Different authors define isolation as the main change in behavior. Harm to the work situation.

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