When you’re a victim of sexual harassment, you may not know how to take it, at least not at first. You never thought someone would treat you this way at work.
If it continues, though, you may finally decide that it’s time to speak up. You know you deserve to be treated fairly, and so you tell them that you don’t appreciate the comments they’re making about you or the way they talk around you. It makes you uncomfortable and you want it to stop.
You hope the other person will agree. Instead, they act like you’re the one with a problem. They tell you it was all just a joke. They act like you’re being oversensitive and say that you just need to calm down.
What happened here?
This is a fairly common response. Odds are that the person knows that what they did was wrong, but they don’t want to own up to it. Instead, they try to shift the blame to you so that they can convince themselves — and others — that none of this was their fault or that nothing bad really happened.
Often, this type of manipulation is known as gaslighting. This is where someone disputes the very facts of what happens and tries to skew your perception of reality. They may act confused about your accusations or try to convince you that what you think happened never really happened.
You do not deserve to be manipulated or harassed on the job. Be sure you are well aware of your legal options if this happens to you. You can fight back against this kind of workplace issue.