An Online Guide To Sexual Harassment Now Exists Thanks To These Young Women

"We hope our guide empowers you to ask questions, get advice, and take action. The more we speak up, the more we can push for change."

According to a 2015 Cosmopolitan survey, 1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 has been sexually harassed at work, and only 71 percent report any misconduct. 

In the male-dominated tech industry sexual harassment is particularly rampant and frequently ignored, as evidenced by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler's detailed account of the mistreatment and harassment she experienced while working at the company for more than a year. Reading about Fowler's experience is what prompted Tammy Cho, a now 22-year-old entrepreneur, and two friends ― Grace Choi and Annie Shin ― to start a website called Better Brave

Launched just last week, Better Brave aims to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace by providing resources, tools, and employment lawyers to targets. As Cho tells A Plus, "BetterBrave exists because of the brave women who came forward and shed light onto just how rampant the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace still is. Their stories gave us the courage to open up and share our personal experiences dealing with issues like sexual harassment and racism with each other ― stories we had never shared before."



After reading Fowler's blog post and doing some reflecting of their own,Cho and Choi asked themselves: "Why don't good solutions to sexual harassment already exist?"

"We were heartbroken and frustrated about this reality," Cho adds. "Why were we still uncomfortable with sharing our story? Why haven't we found a proper solution to combat sexual harassment in the workplace? It's 2017!"

 Tammy Cho, Annie Shin, Grace Choi, courtesy Better Brave
 Tammy Cho, Annie Shin, Grace Choi, courtesy Better Brave
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In a blog post for Medium, Choi details how she, Cho, and Shin, a software engineer, prepared to launch Better Brave upon realizing many of their friends had similarly troubling experiences at work. "We talked to hundreds of people (including, but not limited to targets of harassment, Human Resource departments, founders, investors, and employment lawyers) to understand the full landscape of harassment," she explained. "We teamed up with an employment lawyer, Devin Coyle, to translate these findings into a simple, but comprehensive guide on what to do if you experience sexual harassment at work."

In talking with others, Cho says, she and her co-founders noticed a key pattern. "Everyone is pretty confused on what to do when they witness or experience sexual harassment," she explains to A Plus. "Throughout these interviews, we would often hear, 'I wish there was somebody who would've just told me if my case was sexual harassment, what my rights are, and what I should do next.' We created BetterBrave to be this somebody."

The site, though not yet complete, includes information on what legally constitutes sexual harassment, options available to you if you've been sexually harassed in the workplace, information on how to connect with a lawyer, and more. A section for "allies" ― people who know, or want to help, targets of harassment ― is in the works.

"We hope our guide empowers you to ask questions, get advice, and take action," states an open letter on the Better Brave site. "Let our voices be heard. The more we speak up, the more we can push for change."

Better Brave also acknowledges sexual harassment is often a taboo topic that's very commonly underreported or not reported at all. According to the site, reasons for not reporting sexual harassment at work include fear of retaliation, distrust in HR, bystander apathy, uncertainty around what's considered sexual harassment, and the desire to avoid "drama."

To those fearful of reporting sexual harassment, Cho says, "These fears are exactly why we created BetterBrave. We want to empower you to take action by equipping you with comprehensive knowledge around your rights, your options, and your resources, such as access to free consultations with lawyers." 

"Whether you're a target or a witness, you have every right to speak up. Sexual harassment and retaliation is illegal," she adds. According to the American Association of University Women, such conduct is against the law because it constitutes "a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

However, as Employment Knowledge Online points out, many states have no sexual harassment training in place. This further supports the idea that people often don't know what actually constitutes such behavior.

Companies, however, can and should be stepping up to protect their employees. "Instead of solely focusing on growth, companies need to invest in building strong company cultures starting at an earlier stage," Cho tells us. "Investing in company culture means that you're committed to creating an environment where employees feel safe and empowered to thrive."

To do so, Cho suggests companies invest in proper training for employees at all levels, understand that when they address a report the employee should not be seen as a liability to the company, and know that even when HR is tasked with keeping their employees happy, their paycheck often depends on protecting the company.

The Better Brave trio know change will take time, but they're confident this resource is a big step in the right direction. 

"Although the recent news about sexual harassment has been heartbreaking, we're more optimistic than ever," Choi wrote in the conclusion of her Medium post. "Thanks to the brave women who spoke up, we're seeing more and more conversations shift to focusing on what we can do to address this problem."

If this response from Susan Fowler is any indication, Better Brave is already on the right track.

Cover image via Shutterstock / eggeegg


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