Important aspects to be aware of in a sexual harassment case

Sexual harassment cases are unique often because of the challenges in managing the victims of sexual harassment, societal stigma, and the high chances of retaliation. Seeking for justice in sexual harassment cases is a serious work and it will be helpful to prepare the victim’s mind.


Suggested aspects to consider

  • Retaliation

Harassers in sexual harassment cases may fight back to intimidate their victims and their agents. Also, some harassers may use their influence and power to cause changes in workplace designed to negatively affect the victim. Retaliation may come in the form of an employer or harasser terminating a victim’s employment appointment, salary reduction, being left out of meetings, being denied promotion, or being transferred to a less suitable department.

However, retaliation could in turn help a victim to strengthen her harassment claim in court. It provides more evidence against a harasser.

  • Disclosure

This is a part of litigation; the term is used to refer to the act of revealing of relevant documents and information which are relevant to a case. This is very pivotal to the case of a victim, so it is necessary a victim tells her lawyer relevant information. Gaps in stories could be capitalized on by an opposing lawyer and a harasser in his defense. Bear in mind that there is a relationship of confidentiality between a client and her lawyer, the lawyer has a duty to protect confidential information and cannot ordinarily disclose privilege information of a victim.

  • Cross-Examination

In criminal trials, there is always room for a harasser or his lawyer to put revealing questions to a victim. The questions are designed to shake the credibility of a victim. This is cross-examination. This may lead to recounting very discomforting stories of sexual harassment and may very difficult for a victim. There is need to adequately support the victim in her decisions, through the process and through cross-examination.

  • Adjournment

Civil and Criminal trials are never quick in Nigeria. There are a lot of factors causing this, and one major is adjournments. There are several reasons that a court may adjourn a case, it may be at the request for the court, parties, or their counsel.  So, a victim should be mentally and financially prepared for long trials running into at least 2 years.

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