HOUSTON, Texas. It happened on national television. She was a celebrity pop star. He was a pastor. She was performing at the funeral of a major singer. By now, we don’t need to name names. CNN writes about the moment the pastor wrapped his arm around the pop star’s waist, grabbing her breast on national television. The pop star appears visibly uncomfortable. She smiles, but doesn’t make a scene. For so many women, when this scenario plays out at work, women often face a tough decision. Should she rock the boat and report it, running the risk of backlash from fellow employees and even her own employer? Or should she brush it off as a lapse in judgement?
The Washington Post reported that the pastor also said comments which could be seen as humiliating and demeaning. The pastor has since apologized, but not without turning his apology into a joke.
Unfortunately, failing to report an incident like the one we saw can sometimes lead to escalating abuse. Later, the perpetrator might cite the fact that the woman didn’t complain after the first incident occurred. This lack of complaint might later be used against her, to claim that she consented to the whole thing from the start. This is why many women are encouraged to speak to human resources and make a complaint as soon as possible after something occurs.
According to CNN, as many as 70 percent of women don’t report their assaults because they are worried that they won’t be believed. In the aftermath of the incident, the pop star has faced criticism for wearing a dress that was deemed by some to be “too short.” Others claimed that the hug was not sexual in nature, even though evidence for the groping and the pop star’s visible distress is there for all to see.
Social media has erupted with defenses of the pastor. The pop star’s clothing choices have often come under scrutiny in these defenses. Will the pastor face any repercussions beyond the social media frenzy and public outcry? It isn’t clear.
The pop star has not spoken out. At the end of the day, it is often left up to women and employees who have been harassed to speak out. However, the consequences of speaking up after sexual harassment and assault can be quite high. Victims may face many challenges when reporting their sexual harassment. They may worry that they will face retaliation or they may have concerns about maintaining an ongoing relationship with their co-workers and employers. All of these are real challenges, yet no one should have to suffer harassment on the job.
If you have faced sexual harassment at work or believe that you have been denied overtime wages or have suffered from wage disparity or bias, you may have certain rights under the law. Moore & Associates are Houston, Texas employment lawyers who work closely with individuals, helping them seek damages for their lost wages and suffering. Visit us at https://www.mooreandassociates.net/ to learn more about how we may be able to help you fight for your rights.
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