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#HarassedAtWork: women share shocking real-life accounts of sexual harassment in the workplace

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Kayleigh Dray
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In shocking new research released yesterday, it was revealed that nearly two thirds of young women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

After surveying over 1,500 woman, researchers found that 52% had experienced “unwanted behaviour” at work, including inappropriate jokes, sexual advances, and groping.

And now, in response to the research, many women have taken to Twitter to share their own experiences under the hashtag #HarassedAtWork. 

The study, which had been titled Still Just A Bit of Banter?, was conducted by researchers from the Everyday Sexism Project, in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress [TUC].

After surveying 1,533 people, it revealed that one in three women have been subject to unwelcome jokes of a sexual nature – and that physical harassment is horrifying common. Nearly a quarter of women have been touched when they didn’t want to while working – and 12% had experienced unwanted sexual touching or attempts to kiss them.

Worryingly, many women didn’t feel as if they could take action against their harassers.

The study revealed that 79% of women who have been sexually harassed at work did not tell their employers it was happening, as they were concerned it would affect their career prospects – or that they wouldn’t be believed.

Many who had experience harassment also admitted that, at the time, they had assumed it was an incident of minor importance. Others added that they had gone on to change their work habits, attempting to avoid certain places or times in a bid to avoid their harasser.

Around one in 14 women said that their confidence had been affected by the incident.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, speaking with the Huffington Post, has now called upon employers to protect their staff from “undermining and humiliating” sexual harassment.

“[Your staff] must have sufficient training and robust policies in place to protect their workforce,” she said.

O’Grady also demanded that the government take action, saying: “Ministers must cut tribunal fees and must make employers legally responsible for protecting their staff from harassment by customers and clients, as well as colleagues.”

A government spokesman has since said: “No one should experience harassment or abuse of any kind in the workplace – the law on this is very clear and employers must take swift action to tackle this issue.”

Have you experienced sexual harassment at work? Let us know at stories@stylist.co.uk.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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