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Fear of workplace retaliation keeps victims of harassment quiet

Women working in law enforcement, whether they patrol the roads as police officers or secure prisons as correctional officers, do great civil service as part of their daily work. They likely take a lot of pride in the job that they do while also putting their safety on the line for the benefit of society as a whole.

Unfortunately, women working as police or correctional officers can also suffer a lot of abuse and harassment in what has historically been a male-dominated field. These same women may also worry about the potential consequences of coming forward with claims of abuse or harassment. Women in any workplace, particularly those who want to stay in the same career, may struggle with coming forward with allegations of either workplace discrimination or sexual harassment. It is normal for people to worry about the potential for such complaints to affect their careers.

However, workers reporting abusive or illegal behavior have protection under the law, which can make coming forward an easier thing to do. For female correctional and police officers, those legal protections may fall short of what they need to really feel safe, making it that much harder for them to report co-workers or managers for inappropriate behavior.

Women working in law enforcement may feel unsupported by male co-workers

More so than with any other sort of career path, women in law enforcement and corrections have to worry about whether they can depend on their male co-workers in a hostile work environment.

Female officers and correctional workers may have more reservations about coming forward than women who work in other industries because social retaliation from their co-workers is more of a risk. When someone reports abuse or harassment, it is common for other workers to shun or mistreat the person who made the report, even if it resulted from serious abuses of power.

Camaraderie and trust can become a life-or-death issue in a volatile, potentially dangerous workplace, whether someone works in a prison or responds to calls as a police officer. Being shunned, ignored or mistreated by your co-workers can make for a miserable experience in many fields. In law enforcement or in prisons, such treatment could result in injury or even death.

Take legal action to push back against a toxic culture

Pursuing a discrimination lawsuit against your employer or pushing for corrective action after you suffered abuse at the hands of a co-worker or manager may feel like rocking the boat.

However, standing up for yourself is important for the progress of your career and the potential future career development of other women in the same field. Those who behave in toxic ways toward you will likely treat other female co-workers in the same manner.

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