The Impact of Sexual Harassment on Mental Health

Psychologist in Charlotte, NCThose who find themselves sexually harassed in the workplace often face many obstacles if they choose to come forward. Many who have experienced harassment struggle with the fear of retaliation from their harasser or the fear that their character could be called into question. As a result of these fears, many who have been sexually harassed choose to remain silent about the abuse they have endured. The economic, social, and psychological toll of sexual harassment on its victims can be extensive. Searching for a dependable psychologist in Charlotte, NC? Trust in Legacy. Call now.

A recent study conducted by a University of Oregon professor of psychology, Jennifer Freyd, found that common forms of psychological and emotional distress can be experienced by the victims of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment victims often try to bury their experiences, according to Freyd. She shares that sexual harassment and traumatic experiences often co-occur and that the effects of these experiences can be challenging to understand. Freyd categorizes three types of phenomena that these victims experience: betrayal blindness, betrayal trauma, and institutional betrayal.

Understanding these types of betrayal and their effects can help victims better understand the circumstances in which they find themselves. Betrayal blindness occurs when the harassment victim intentionally ignores the situation to avoid confronting their feelings of betrayal about the harassment. Betrayal trauma is the result of a mentor or boss taking advantage of their positive relationship with the victim. Betrayal trauma can also result from the bullying of a trusted advisor or boss. In some work cultures, sexual harassment is overlooked or encouraged as a part of the culture and can result in institutional betrayal.

Experiencing sexual harassment can contribute to the development of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety and may exacerbate preexisting mental health conditions. When accompanied by an assault or acts of violence the victim may experience extreme stress. When sexual harassment registers as trauma, the body may become overwhelmed, and in turn, the mental health of the victim will begin to deteriorate. Denying that the harassment has occurred and refusing to cope with the abuse healthily and proactively can have long-term effects on both physical and psychological well being.

Continuing to work in the same environment can add to the feelings of shame or guilt that many victims feel. A loss of self-esteem as result of the harassment as well as a loss of professional self-worth are commonly reported. Panic attacks, weight loss or gain, insomnia, poor performance and emotional outbursts are all associated with victims who continue to work in the same environment with their abuser.

Being sexually harassed in the workplace can lead you to doubt your abilities and question your achievements. The mental, emotional, and physical toll that this abuse has taken on you doesn't have to control your life. At Legacy Freedom of Charlotte, we have helped thousands of sexual harassment survivors take back control of their lives. Through a holistic approach to mental health care our staff helps you find compassionate care that heals your mind, body, and spirit.

Dependable Psychologist in Charlotte, NC

By combining alternative treatments and traditional talk therapy our care plan centers on you and your needs. Together with your therapist, you will work one-on-one to confront the root of your feelings and learn new ways to overcome the negative emotions and thoughts you are experiencing. Alternative therapies like EMDR and equine assisted therapy work to help you move past these negative experiences and set positive boundaries and work through the emotional trauma you have experienced. Stop living as a victim and emerge a survivor with holistic mental health care from Legacy Freedom! Call or click to connect with our qualified psychologist in Charlotte, NC!

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