Protecting your rights in the workplace.

How Can Sexual Harassment Affect Your Health?

With #MeToo continuing to trend on the internet, more people are becoming better informed about sexual harassment. However, many people remain in the dark about how harassment can affect not just the workplace, but workers themselves. Experts say much of this is due to the fact that harassment is not studied as much as it should be. And this is why a study on menopause and cardiovascular disease is catching the attention of workers’ rights advocates.

Can Sexual Harassment Lead to Medical Conditions?

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine made the news recently on a topic it wasn’t researching. Out of 304 women between the ages of 40 and 60, researchers discovered that 19 percent had been sexually harassed at work. Another 22 percent of these women claimed they were sexually assaulted, and 10 percent said they had experienced both harassment and assault. Yet, the questions in this cardiovascular/menopause study also revealed potential long-term health impacts suffered by these women.

Women who were sexually assaulted were more than twice as likely to experience insomnia. While women who were sexually harassed at work were twice as likely to have untreated high blood pressure in addition to sleep problems. This data is even more concerning considering the national estimates for sexual assault and harassment are high.

Could There Be Additional Health Risks Caused by Sexual Harassment?

Advocates believe that there are too few studies focused on sexual harassment and its effects. The percentage of harassment and assault victims in this study skews lower than the national rate. And experts believe this difference is due to the fact that harassment was not the focus of this study. That divide could mean that sexual harassment has even deeper health risks than we realize. Will researchers also use the #MeToo movement to take this type of research to the next level?

This update was brought to you by the sexual harassment attorneys at Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP.