This is Why Women Shouldn’t Just Quit their Jobs
16-Apr-2017


“She can find another job. Why doesn’t she just quit?” Sexual harassment in the workplace is something that far too many women have to deal with on a daily basis. Yet when a woman decides to stay despite the harassment, or reports the harassment to a superior, she is called out as to why she didn’t “just quit.” This sort of response is not okay: in the face of harassment, women should not have to leave their jobs. The harassment should instead be addressed.

Asking women why they don’t “just quit” if they are being harassed is similar to asking women in abusive relationships why they don’t “just leave.” Both are a form of victim blaming, placing the need to do “what’s right” on the woman’s shoulders rather than her abuser or harasser. Both questions imply that the situation is the woman’s fault, that if she just left, everything would be okay, that the abuse/harassment would stop.

If the woman decides to quit her job (or leave her abusive partner), the harassment will likely stop (unless the abuser/harasser continues to pursue her). But what about the next woman who comes along? Men who commit violence against women demonstrate patterns of abuse and harassment: it doesn’t just stop at one woman. Perhaps the male employee doesn’t harass any of the other current female employees. But this does not mean that he might not start, nor does it mean he might not harass a new hire.

Furthermore, why is it OK to “reward” a man who has done something wrong? Why should the woman have to give up her job—one that she probably worked very hard to get to—while the man, who has done something wrong, gets to keep his? Bluntly put: why should a man be allowed to get away with a crime?

Women don’t like to report sexual harassment in the workplace, for fear they might be seen as a “problem employee” or worse, especially if their harasser also happens to be their boss. In the latter case they may fear being fired.  But the woman who leaves the workplace without getting justice may end up feeling like she was imagining things, or she may believe she should accept such behavior at a future job.

It is the duty of the employer to provide a safe workplace for all. If one employee is making another feel uncomfortable or unsafe, the issue should not just be swept under the rug. Instead of telling women to quit, the harassment needs to be stopped.


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