It was hot and humid, but I didn’t want to roll down my car windows down completely. I’m always cautious when I’m in a new place and alone. I was invited to attend a class on sexual harassment and cyber safety at the Two Wings’ Qualified Academy. I had arrived early, so I decided to wait in the parking lot and read a book. But every so often I would look up and scan the area to see if anyone was approaching.

I can’t help being careful. Stories of women being attacked or robbed in parking garages stream through my head. Because of this, it’s hard to let my guard down.

To others, I may be paranoid, but after learning about sexual harassment in the workplace and cyber safety, I think it’s necessary to be protective of my personal safety.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the federal laws that protect workers from employment discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

Donna Cutley, a case investigator for the EEOC, discussed examples of sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • A supervisor tells you you’re pretty and asks you out on a date every single day. You have declined your supervisor’s invitation, but he/she insists.
  • You work at a place where topless women are displayed on posters. You feel offended and uncomfortable.
  • A co-worker tells you you’re cute and touches you inappropriately.
  • Your manager promises you a raise if you sleep with him/her.

If you have experienced any of the above situations and have told the harasser that the harassment must stop, write a detailed account of what you experienced and present it to your supervisor or human resources.

If the harassment continues, contact the EEOC immediately. The EEOC’s services are free.

Please know that there are professionals available to help you seek justice. You do not deserve to be mistreated or intimidated.

Cyber safety

Female FBI Special Agent and FBI Intelligence Analyst stopped by to teach us a little bit about cyber safety and how we can protect ourselves from falling prey to internet predators.

They told us the story of a young girl whose computer was hacked by a guy she went to high school with. While she undressed in her bedroom, he took pictures of her through her laptop webcam. He threatened to expose these pictures online, but she reached out to the FBI and got him prosecuted.

Here are some precautions we can take to protect ourselves from an Internet sex crime.

  • Create a strong password challenging to break
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple social media accounts/bank accounts
  • Be selective of who you befriend online
  • Once a year, go through your list of “friends” and remove anyone you haven’t spoken to in over a year

It’s up to us to look out for ourselves and surround ourselves with those we trust the most.

Stephanie Sandoval
Contributing Writer, Two Wings