The "Me Too" movement is a country-wide phenomenon that is exposing sexual harassers and empowering victims. While the national headlines are important, it is imperative to look at what is happening right here in Hawaii. What is occurring in the state may actually surprise you.
Despite the increase in awareness of sexual harassment and a growing intolerance for perpetrators, the number of complaints in Hawaii is decreasing. Here is a look at the numbers and what you can learn from them.
Fewer sexual harassment reports in Hawaii
The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission only received nine complaints in 2016 in comparison to fifty in 1997. This is a drastic drop in the number of people coming forward to file sexual harassment claims. Unfortunately, this may be due to a fear of retaliation.
Retaliation is unlawful
While you may be afraid of bringing forward your testimony of sexual harassment at work, you should not be fearful. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a complaint. Both state and federal laws prohibit employers from seeking revenge against employees. If you are a victim of workplace sexual misconduct, you can find comfort in the fact that the law is on your side.
How to take action
You do not need to work in silence and fear. If you experience unwanted sexual advances or conduct, you should follow certain steps to protect yourself. You should keep notes of the misconduct, including the dates and times of when it occurs. Additionally, try to gather witnesses and evidence that may support your claim. Proof of sexual harassment may include emails and security camera footage. Once you have this information, you can look into filing a complaint and getting legal help.
Even if the number of complaints in Hawaii is decreasing, this does not mean you need to stay silent. Make sure you speak up about any harassment you encounter at your job.