Barriers to reporting sexual harassment


This infographic explains some of the barriers that exist for victims to report experiences of sexual violence.

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A survivor’s ability to report what happened is impacted by:

victim-blaming, experiences of social marginalization and prior sexual violence, complexities of identity (e.g. citizenship, race/ethnicity, age), the normalization of sexual harassment, a lack of effective responses, retaliation from the harasser and others, and social misconceptions that minimize the impact of harassment and excuse perpetrators for their actions.

  • Repercussions to Disclosure: “Everyone will find out”
  • Perpetrator known to Victim: “… But we work together.”
  • Myths & Misconceptions: “It’s just innocent flirtation.”
  • Experiences Minimized/Ignored: “It’s not a big deal – they do it to everyone.”



Bystanders who recognize sexual or gender-based harassment has occurred but choose to ignore it are complicit in silencing the survivor.

This infographic emerged from Issue-Based Newsletter 13: Sexual and Gender-based Harassment.