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Sexual harassment is an unfortunate reality for many women in the American workplace.
But when a male colleague threatens their comfort and safety, these working women can fight back. They just need to be armed with information and the legal know-how to do it.
That’s the cornerstone of a new online resource called BetterBrave, which helps women take action against sexual harassment at work. The simple website, which launched in early July, breaks down U.S. laws regarding workplace harassment into easy-to-understand language, and provides resources for women who experience sexual intimidation at their jobs.
BetterBrave gives several options for women to report harassment, and it provides a clear outline of their rights. In the guide, readers can also learn what to do before reporting an incident to HR, why it’s vital to consult an employment lawyer as soon as possible, and more.
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Grace Choi, Tammy Cho, and Annie Shin created BetterBrave after former Uber employee Susan Fowler allegedly experienced sexual harassment during her time at the ride-hailing company. In a recent Medium post, Choi says the women were troubled by Fowler’s experience, and even more troubled to know her situation was indicative of a larger problem.
"The moments after being sexually harassed are confusing and overwhelming, and there’s alarmingly little reliable information available online to help."
For months, the creators of BetterBrave talked to hundreds of workplace professionals, including targets of harassment, HR departments, employment lawyers, and CEOs to understand sexual harassment in the workplace. Their findings informed the comprehensive guide on what to do if you experience or witness harassment at work.
"When you’re sick, most people know you’re supposed to go see a doctor," Choi writes. "When it comes to sexual harassment, however, the first step is not so clear to the vast majority of people we interviewed. The moments after being sexually harassed are confusing and overwhelming, and there’s alarmingly little reliable information available online to help."
According to the National Women’s Law Center, at least one-quarter of all women have experienced workplace sexual harassment. But the majority of those women — about 70 to 90 percent — don’t make a formal complaint out of fear and shame.
Harassment, however, has been found to have a negative impact on a woman’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Reaching women who are trying to cope with the aftermath of harassment is important for their well-being, regardless of when or if they decide to report the problem behavior.
BetterBrave also connects women with vetted and reputable lawyers in all 50 states who are available for free consultation. These lawyers have partnered with BetterBrave to be on-hand, available to answer questions about a woman’s specific circumstance.
The site’s creators have plans to release a guide for allies soon, detailing how coworkers and managers can be workplace advocates for women who are being harassed. You can sign up here to get notified when the new guide launches.