Many of the stories involving sexual harassment and assault that are currently making the news both in Kansas City and throughout the rest of the U.S. involve actual encounters. Such stories often turn into cases of “he said, she said,” with the victim claiming he or she was not a willing participant, while the accused claims that the encounter was consensual. Like most, you may think that cases of sexual harassment are limited to those where you report unwanted advances to a superior. Yet what if you acquiesce to them?
At that point, most may tell you that you do not have a leg to stand on if you want to pursue a harassment claim (after all, you gave in to your harasser). After that, he or she may say that your participation in your activities was voluntary, evidenced by your not having reported it. However, information shared by the United Nations says different. In a release detailing what is considered sexual harassment, it states that you may consent and even participate in certain conduct and still be considered a victim if you find it to be offensive or objectionable.
Some may ask why you would consent to it if you felt this way. Consider this scenario: An employee expresses interest in career advancement. His or her manager then begins to make advances that he or she does not welcome. However, it is implied (either directly or subtly) that engaging in a relationship might be good for his or her career. If you find yourself in this position, then it perfect understandable why you may feel like a victim given the implications made about how your refusal could impact your career prospects.