At minimum, sexual harassment harms the self-confidence of a person. It is well-known that confidence leads to increased productivity, so it should be a concern of the employer.
Beyond this, research indicates that the health of a person is negatively impacted in six ways when unwanted sexual advances are presented. These six ways are listed below.
- Depression: Depression impacts the mental health of a person, reducing their confidence and causing feelings of self-doubt. The long-term impact of depression can be both physical and financial.
- PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder comes from intense trauma or general trauma experienced over a long time-frame. Either way, the condition causes a person to have difficulty focusing and can result in several physiological disorders.
- Suicide: One of the most common contributing factors in suicide is sexual harassment. Rates among women especially increase when unwanted sexual threats and innuendos combine with physical contact.
- Sleep Disorders: Stress and anxiety are leading causes of sleep disorders. Fatigue can cause a range of physical ailments as well as impact on-the-job performance. Fatigue can also result in on-the-job accidents.
- High Blood Pressure (HBP): The link between high blood pressure and heart disease is well-established. Less understood is that sexual harassment can contribute to HBP. Hence, sexual harassment can increase the risk of cardiovascular illnesses the same way stress does.
- Neck and Spinal Pain: Another physical side effect of the stress of unwanted sexual attention in the workplace is neck pain. Although researchers are not entirely certain of the reasons, they have found an increase in such pain among victims of workplace sexual harassment.