Robert F. Croskery, Esq. and
Melinda E.Knisley, Esq., Partners

Croskery Law OfficesAttorneys at Law

513-232-LAWS (5297)

Croskery Law Office's Blog

Workplace Drama and the Law, Comments by Melinda E. Knisley

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Can Cause Intense Emotional Distress

Melinda E. Knisley is a lawyer who has been representing victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault for many years. Melinda has counseled so many victims and listened to their stories that she has noticed a unique pattern of responses shared by most of her clients.

The victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault react much like a victim of rape. They have a tendency to blame themselves for what happened, or for not handling the situation better, causing a great deal of shame and guilt. This shame and guilt is unwarranted most of the time. If the victim reluctantly goes along with the harassment for a period of time just to go along and get along, and then wants it to stop, she blames herself for it.

When the harassment first starts, many victims try to laugh it off or ignore it. In the early stages, they are in a state of denial, wanting to believe that it will stop once they show they are not interested. However, as time wears on, the harassment continues and often gets worse and worse as the harasser gets bolder and more comfortable with the victim. Melinda’s clients report that when they finally get out of the situation and get a job in a professional workplace where they are treated with respect, they can’t believe they put up with the hostile environment and bad treatment so long.

Day in and day out, the harassment wears away at the victim’s emotions, and even has a physical toll on her. Victims start to dread coming to work. They have trouble sleeping and often eat too much or too little. Sometimes victims purposefully put on weight to try to avoid getting sexual attention. Often they stop wearing make-up and start wearing baggy, unattractive clothes. This further eats away at their self-esteem, and they feel unattractive and worthless and like they deserve to feel badly. They become exhausted physically and emotionally due to the constant stress and wondering what is going to come next.

Very frequently, a victim of sexual harassment finds herself fighting with her significant other. This is because she is irritated and stressed out 24/7, both at home and at work. She feels that she cannot reveal the fact that she is being sexually harassed to her partner, for fear that he will go ballistic and get her fired or get into trouble with the courts for taking matters into his own hands. Husbands/significant others feel victimized, as well, and have a hard time understanding why their partners are so unhappy all the time. They wonder if they are the problem and sometimes they start questioning the relationship.

Although I am using the pronouns “she” and “her,” men often have similar reactions, especially gay men in relationships who are being harassed at work.

When Melinda Knisley and Rob Croskery make a sexual harassment claim, they almost always also make a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Sometimes, if the actions of the harasser or the employer toward the victim are outrageous, Melinda and Rob seek punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer for the outrageous behavior.

Melinda has a background in psychology and attended graduate school in counseling before going to law school. She understands the emotional pain that can result from desperately needing an income and feeling like you have no options to quit when in a miserable workplace situation. She also understands how devastating it can be to be assaulted or harassed by a person in a position of trust and authority, such as a doctor.

If you are in such a situation, please call Melinda at (513) 232-5297 for a FREE phone consultation. Melinda would be happy to try to help you and explain your options to you. For more information on Croskery Law Offices and the applicable law, go to www.croskerylaw.com.

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