What is Sexual Harassment for Women in the Trucking Industry?

The trucking industry has been predominately men for as long as it has been a career. However, more and more women are getting behind the wheel for their job. This is great for the industry, because women drivers can bring a lot to it. 

That being said, since it is a field that is mainly run by men, women may find themselves struggling with sexual harassment. They may deal with it on a regular basis. They might not even realize that they are being harassed, which is even more reason to try to get to the bottom of the problem. 

In order to be able to fight harassment, you need to have a good understanding about the subject. So, what is considered sexual harassment when it comes to truck drivers? 

Sexual harassment often starts as staring. Women truck drivers may find themselves been stared at all day long. It may not go any farther than that, and even though it may be uncomfortable for women, it is probably part of their job that they will end up dealing with for the rest of their career. However, if they find themselves being stared at regularly by the same person, it can be considered harassment. 

They may also find themselves dealing with suggestive comments. They may find themselves being whistled at when they are at truck stops, though this may be followed by suggestive comments talking about sex and their womanhood. Some truckers may even talk to others over the CB, about sex and the women drivers that they meet. They may or may not know that the females can hear everything that they are saying! 

Obscene gestures may also be noticed. Some men will act out when they are around pretty women, which can become quite uncomfortable for the women themselves. They may move like they are having sex or pretend to reach out and touch the women. 

Truckers may also share offensive images with female truck drivers. They may text offensive pictures to female truck drivers. This may include personal pictures of themselves, though they may attempt to share pictures of other men and women who may or may not have any clothes on. They may also try to share porn with other truck drivers. 

Some women drivers get asked out regularly by other truck drivers. If it often happens, it may be considered harassment. This is especially true if the woman had turned him down multiple times, and he hasn’t gotten the hint yet! 

Getting touched or even forced to have sex with someone else is definitely harassment and needs to be stopped! Some men feel like they can grab anyone that they want to, even if it is unwanted. This can include relatively innocent touches, such as the shoulder, but it can also include private areas, such as a woman’s butt or breast. 

In order to stop sexual harassment with truck drivers, it is important to know what is and what isn’t considered sexual harassment. Though staring is common, it isn’t always considered harassment, unless it continues for a long period of time. However, some women truckers will end up dealing with suggestive comments and obscene gestures. They may also find themselves looking at images that aren’t wanted. This can include naked pictures of other truck drivers, though it can be any unwanted image (or even videos) that they get! The ultimate harassment is unwanted touching and even being forced to have sexual intercourse. 

So, what can you do now that you have found yourself being harassed at work? 

The first thing that you should do is let your harasser know that what he or she is doing is bothering you. Your harasser may not even realize how he or she is making you feel. While he or she may think that you are just joking around, you are quite uncomfortable with the situation. Hopefully, your harasser will take the hint and back off. 

You need to start by documenting everything that is happening. If you don’t write down dates and times when things happen, the other person is likely to claim that it never happened.

You may even want to grab your phone or take a video of the harassment. Unfortunately, just writing it all down isn’t always enough. For this reason, you need to record what is happening to you.  

If someone witnesses the harassment, you need to get their take on it. They can either write down their statement, or, even better, take a video of them talking about what they saw. Your case will be even stronger if someone else feels like you were being harassed also. 

If your harasser gives you physical proof, you need to keep everything! If you are getting harassed by email or mail, you can save the letters and emails. If you have text messages and voicemails to prove that you are being harassed, you will have a strong case. Even social media posts can be captured, which will help prove to everyone what you are dealing with. 

Once you have proof, you should go to your employer (or the human resources department). Hopefully, your employer will take action when it comes to the unwanted behavior that you are dealing with. 

You may also want to consult a lawyer. He or she will be able to help you figure out whether or not you have a case. If you decide to go after your harasser, your lawyer will be able to help you every step of the way. He or she may also help you figure out whether your employer is doing enough or more needs to be done to stop the harassment. 

Sexual harassment is a big deal, especially in industries that are predominately male, such as truck driving. If you are feeling uncomfortable, you need to speak up. Hopefully, you can speak up to the person that is bothering you. There are times when he or she may not even realize what is going on. He or she may just be thinking that you are joking around, when you are taking it personally. This might be enough to stop the harassment. 

If not, it is time to get proof. You should write down everything that happens, as well as dates and times. Keeping a journal will show everyone exactly what is going on and how long it has been happening. It is even better if you are able to keep physical proof, such as emails, voicemails, and text messages. You can take this to your employer and even a lawyer to ensure that the harassment stops! 

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David Ott

David Ott