6 medical problems caused by sexual harassment

Posted in Sexual Harassment on October 2, 2015

Not only does sexual harassment interfere with the victim’s career and cause feelings of shame, confusion and disgust, it can affect his or her health. This is another reason why federal and California law does not tolerate workplace harassment, and empowers victims to seek redress in a court of law.

Live Science shares six common negative health effects of being sexually harassed. Here they are:

1. Depression. Sexual harassment can cause feelings of self-doubt, which can lead to the victim blaming him- or herself for what is happening. In turn, self-blaming can morph into long-term depression.

2. Posttraumatic stress disorder. Any sort of trauma can trigger PTSD. A 2009 study of the military found that women who were sexually harassed were up to four times likelier to develop PTSD than those who survived combat.

3. High blood pressure. A 2008 study of victims of sexual harassment found that female victims were more likely to have elevated blood pressure, perhaps due to stress.

4. Sleep problems. Likely also because of stress, sexual harassment has been linked to disordered sleep, such as having trouble falling asleep or chronic nightmares.

5. Neck pain. A Canadian study from earlier this year found that women with neck pain were 1.6 times more likely to have been sexually harassed.

6. Suicide. Perhaps worst of all, sexual harassment can lead people to attempt suicide, according to a study of high school students.

Doctors and mental health professionals may be able to help victims cope with these effects, but litigation can hold harassers and employers responsible.