An article published by Jhana, an online resource used by companies such as Google, Groupon, Eventbrite, Modcloth, and Ask.com, recently published an article meant to counsel women on how to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace—but the article places the responsibility for both preventing and fending off sexual harassment on the women themselves.
The article, entitled “What if a male colleague gets the wrong idea?”, does not provide women with advice on how to report inappropriate behavior or politely decline unwanted sexual advances. Instead, it tells women to adjust their clothing, mannerisms, and social habits in order to prevent sexual harassment, essentially placing the blame and solution for sexual harassment in the hands of the harassed.
For example, some kernels of wisdom provided in the article include, “if you’re touchy-feely or flirtatious by nature, you might want to dial it back around him and any guys from whom you sense discomfort,” and “know that revealing clothing and certain verbal tics, such as ending statements with an upward inflection in your voice or struggling to accept a compliment, can affect others’ ability to take you seriously.”
Only once in the article is it said that women should be direct in rejecting unwanted advances, and nowhere in the version screencapped by Jezebel does it discuss reporting inappropriate behavior to superiors or taking legal action. Because sexual harassment is a very real problem in the United States—one in four women report having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace—the article’s implications that the harassed parties are to blame are sobering and possibly dangerous.