3 reasons why women don’t report sexual harassment

It’s been three years since FOX News anchor Gretchen Carlson famously accused her network CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.

It’s been two years since the #metoo movement really gained steam, after accusations were levelled against Harvey Weinstein.

And yet, still, there are plenty of people – specifically men – who just don’t get it.


This topic of conversation came up with a work colleague recently, where he offered the suggestion that in his opinion, women accuse men of sexual harassment or abuse to “get attention”.

Here’s the thing: women don’t generally want this kind of attention. It can be demeaning, humiliating and exceedingly vulnerable to admit that you’ve been victimised.

Furthermore, when we do speak up – and it’s quite rare that we do, because females are conditioned from a young age to be complacent and compliant – we are often met with:

1. Disbelief: there’s no evidence, so I don’t believe you.
2. Distrust: why didn’t you say something sooner, or just leave?
3. Disdain: you’re not a whistle blower, you’re a trouble maker.

The conversation around MeToo is due to swell up again with the release of a new movie that deals with Carlson’s lawsuit against Ailes – a lawsuit that eventually settled for $20m and an apology from FOX, despite the late CEO maintaining that he was innocent.

Hollywood heavyweights Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron star in Bombshell, which covers the real-life scandal.

There are so many sleazy aspects to the story – like the fact that FOX News’ cameras were positioned as “leg level”, to ensure that the network’s largely blonde, thin and attractive female reporters’ legs were on display.

But the sleaziness pales in comparison to the actual allegations of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, most of it Carlson can’t talk about due to non-disclosure agreements, which she is trying to get released from so she can be more transparent.

She wasn’t involved in Bombshell, or the TV series based on the scandal, The Loudest Voice.

“Therein is the frustration and the strangeness of not being able to partake in really big projects that are about something so personal and painful in your life,” Carlson says.

“But I have to look at it from the big picture, because the idea that these projects are even happening is really, really important because it continues the national dialogue about this issue. And if even one woman is helped from watching one of these projects and decides to have the courage to come forward, then these projects are a good idea.”