Sexual harassment in the workplace has a lot of different components, one of which is power. This can influence these incidents on numerous levels, and, while no situation is exactly the same as another, it is worth considering how power fits into the equation.
After all, the power imbalance is one reason that people often don’t report this type of harassment. Here are two ways that power can factor into a harasser’s actions:
They use a position of power to try to get away with their actions
First, a harasser will often use a position of power to carry out their harassment. For instance, it is very common for the harasser to be a supervisor or someone else in a position of authority, and for the victim to be a lower-level employee. The supervisor is using their position in hopes that it will prevent the victim from speaking up for themselves. In some cases, they may directly threaten the victim by saying that they will lose their job if they report it. This is illegal, but it happens.
They harass others to demonstrate their power
Psychologically speaking, harassment is also about the demonstration of power. Someone may not even be interested in the romantic aspect of a relationship or even the sexual component of the harassment. They may simply be looking for a way to demonstrate that they have power and that someone else does not. This is done in order to climb the corporate ladder, in some cases, or simply because the individual has a personality that makes them crave that explicit demonstration of their own position.
No matter why this happens to you, sexual harassment is illegal, and you must know what steps you can take. Never assume that you simply have to accept this type of workplace environment.