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Sexual harassment is finally getting the attention it deserves. It’s been far too common for far too long, as the #MeToo movement has demonstrated. Women everywhere are speaking out and telling their stories, pushing it to the front of the news.

While this is good, it’s important that we all take action to match the words. If you have been sexually harassed, you need to know that New York City has some of the strongest laws to back you up and put an end to your torment. You are empowered to stand up to sexual harassment, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights has your back.

What is sexual harassment?

The commission has released a new report on sexual harassment for the purpose of letting everyone know just what it is and what needs to stop. Sexual harassment has many forms, according to the testimony received, including:

  • Inappropriate touch by your coworkers, tenants, or customers
  • Threats to ruin your career after refuse a sexual advance
  • Unwanted and repeated comments about your appearance, body, or clothing
  • Refusal to serve you because of gender

Any of these constitute sexual harassment and should be reported to the commission for appropriate action to put a stop to it. There is no reason why anyone has to tolerate this in New York.

Won’t there be retaliation?

The main reason why sexual harassment is not reported is an imbalance of power. Employees are afraid of losing their jobs and service industry workers do not want to put out a customer. Far too often, a fear of some kind of retaliation is a very real threat, implied or explicitly stated.

If you have been sexually harassed you need to know that the law is very much on your side, and you cannot be retaliated against. Standing up for your right to a safe workplace or living situation is protected under the law.

But who will have my back?

Gaining full empowerment to put a stop to sexual harassment is not always easy. It takes a lot of confidence to move forward and make the call.

If you have been sexually harassed either in the workplace or in your apartment building, you may want to consult with an attorney. You have rights, and one of them is to live free from this kind of behavior.

More women are standing up every day to confront the scourge of sexual harassment here in New York. It takes action to put an end to it, and by doing so we can make our city better for everyone. You don’t have to do this alone. You have the rights and the power to make it stop.