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What To Do If You Are Sexually Harassed?

What To Do If You Are Sexually Harassed?

Three years ago we witnessed former television star Robert Hughes sentenced to at least six years in prison after being found guilty of 10 sex offenses against four underage girls more than 20 years ago.

 Over 50 women have come forward to accuse Don Burke of sexual harassment, allegations he denies.   Image source.

Over 50 women have come forward to accuse Don Burke of sexual harassment, allegations he denies.

Image source.

Recently, over 50 women have come forward regarding indecent assault, sexual harassment and bullying of Australian TV legend Don Burke during his time as the star of Channel Nine's Burke's Backyard.  Allegations Don denies.

ABC News Pointed Out The Facts:

  • Two former TV researchers claim Burke groped their breasts
  • One of the researchers alleges he put his hand down her top during a work trip
  • Former Channel Nine boss David Leckie describes Burke as a "dreadful piece of work."
  • Burke says the allegations against him are "baseless" and supplied statements of support from three former colleagues
  • A joint ABC/Fairfax investigation has uncovered claims from some women who worked with Burke in the late 1980s and 1990s.
  • Two former TV researchers claim Burke groped their breasts, while a young actress claims he told her she would have to do an audition topless for his G-rated show.

One of the researchers said Burke once showed her a bestiality video. She also said he attempted to remove her clothing and put his hand down her top while the two were traveling for work in central Australia.

The second researcher said the TV star once grabbed her breast while they were alone on a rooftop above their production office to demonstrate how he would read nametags at cocktail parties as an excuse to grope women.

Even our loved Olympic swimmer Susie O'Neill is the latest to speak out against under fire gardening guru Don Burke, accusing him of making "crude and belittling" comments to her. (ABC)

Sexual harassment is illegal.  Unfortunately, it is a practice that is ongoing.  Many women feel they need to put up with sexual harassment to maintain their careers.  Many women are concerned about retaliation if they talk to anyone about the harassment, mainly if the harasser is a director or manager, someone of higher status in the company.

How can we stop "dirty old men" who think they have the right to treat women as sexual objects?

Stanford University has a four-step take-action plan for victims of sexual harassment:

1. Speak up. 

If you can, tell the person to stop. State clearly and firmly that you want a particular behavior to cease. This is not a time to be polite or vague. Consider the possibility that the harasser may not realize that a specific act is offensive.

2. Get information and support. 

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If you feel you cannot speak up, talk with one of Stanford’s resources for further help and guidance. These people can provide support and advice about Stanford's policy and procedures and can help to resolve the problem.

3. Send a written message to the harasser. 

This can often succeed in stopping sexual harassment. Include a factual account of the offending behavior, describe how you felt about it, and state that you want that particular action to cease. Keep the letter polite, low-key and factual. 

If the message is to work, it must be a private communication between the persons involved, so don't send a copy to anyone else, but be sure to keep a  copy for yourself. Typically, you won't have a response to your letter, but the troubling behavior will stop right away.

4. Keep records.

Keep records or a journal and save any letters, e-mail, or notes you have about the situation if the harassment persists. Record dates, places, times, witnesses and the nature of the harassment—what was said when, and how you responded.

Have you ever been sexually harassed?  

What worked for you?

Let me know if you would speak up again, or did you speak up?  If you did, or didn't, how were you affected by the harassment?

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Carolyn Rowland is a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching and A Professional Image Stylist.  Carolyn is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.

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Please leave comments below or email Carolyn@cazinc.com.au.

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