If you're reading these case studies and definitions with a sinking feeling of recognition, the experts are here to help. Fitzsimmons says, "To address the situation, women who are victims of sexual harassment by women must learn methods to rebalance the power. When sexual harassment occurs or is suspected, victims should immediately notify HR — no matter the gender of the aggressor. In addition, it is important for women who are victims of sexual harassment to speak up the very first time it happens. This can be difficult because often situations may be misconstrued or ambiguous."
The importance of immediate action is echoed by Jennifer Yeko, founder of Ninja Recruiting, who tells Bustle:
"I do think a lot of women are embarrassed when they are sexually harassed in any situation, so it's important that they know it's not their fault and that it should be reported immediately. Also, I would keep detailed notes of date, time, location if it happens in case a lawsuit needs to be filed."
When it comes to how to report it, Kaslassi says it's common to deal with it in different ways based on different power dynamics: "There are policies and procedures put in place by companies to deal with harassment, but it isn't a black and white issue and employees often deal with it in the ways in which they most feel comfortable. For example, if an employee is on the receiving end of harassment from another employee on the same 'level' or rank as them, sometimes they might feel most comfortable speaking with that person directly about it, instead of going to someone superior, regardless of the policy put in place. On the other hand, someone else may go directly to their boss."
However you choose to deal, though, all the experts emphasize that action is key. "Strong and respectful communication is often crucial in these situations," Fitzsimmons tells Bustle. "Women who possess a constructive verbal toolbox can regain a sense of safety and comfort needed to create fair and strong teamwork with shared responsibility and minimum of punitive consequences for all involved."
She gave a few examples of sentences that women could use if they wish to interact directly with a woman whom they feel is harassing them, including
-“When you make a joke like that, it makes me feel really uncomfortable."
-"When I am uncomfortable then I can't concentrate."
-“When you make those kinds of advances, then I worry about my safety."
-“When I worry about my safety all my energy I'm focused on protecting myself versus doing the job I need to do."
These sentences "show an awareness of how the other person’s rude or threatening behavior has a negative impact on someone else." Which is key — because no one should have to suffer through being harassed by anyone of any gender.