Featured Article: Opinion | It’s not easy to speak out after sexual harassment. This may help.
by GENEVIEVE GONZALES, LCSW
November 2017 • San Diego Union-Tribune
Recent allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and multiple other high-profile men appear to have raised the topic of sexual harassment to the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Considering up to 85 percent of women report they have experienced some sort of sexual harassment in the workplace, it is fair to say that this subject is on most women’s minds on a daily basis. The immense amount of reports from numerous women revealing their long, hidden abuse and torment raises many questions.
One question may be, well, why now? Why would a woman wait sometimes for decades to come forward against her sexual predator? But especially in cases such as Weinstein, when we hear about the overwhelming accounts of sexual aggression, it is not hard to believe that for every woman who painfully decides to go public with her story, there must be a dozen more who sit silent, who may never speak up.
So this raises the question: Why can some women speak out about their experiences while others cannot, and what factors come into play when making this decision?
The first step for a woman when deciding to speak out about sexual harassment she has endured is to actually realize and be able to label the behavior as harassment. This might sound simple, but when you consider our society, which still openly promotes the sexual objectification of women through the media and now even some in our government, it is not hard to see how a woman may feel the harassment is normal.
She may question herself, feeling as if she is crazy, wrong, or that she is the only one who has a problem with it, leading to increasing feelings of isolation. When sexually attacked, a person experiences a loss of power and identity and women in the work force are already fighting for equal power and representation in leadership, so it becomes easier to understand why it may seem like a better choice to not report harassment to your boss, who is likely a man and possibly even the perpetrator.
Not to mention the retaliation and re-victimization that often occurs for women who do report.
Unfortunately, when deciding if they should speak out, women must weigh the personal pros and cons of reporting a sexual crime. The pros being that if she reports the abuse may stop, the long healing process may begin and maybe she receives financial compensation through retribution — although I feel this is the least likely incentive for women to report, considering court proceedings are stressful, time-consuming and can be costly.
Not every woman is a celebrity, and a single mother on one income is unlikely going to choose attorney fees over supporting her children.
With that being said, the cons to reporting can include loss of employment, fear of shame and embarrassment when family hear the details of the harassment, and the stigma of being labeled a sexual assault victim.
On top of all this, women have the fear that they are somehow to blame or that their consensual sexual history may come into question as we have seen happen numerous times in past sexual assault cases.
Despite all the odds, women still speak out, and, regardless of how a woman comes to this decision, it takes courage and a sense of advocacy for themselves and others. However, what may be one of the biggest determining factors for women who speak out is their sense of support, whether that is support from their family, a therapist, co-workers or even legislation that protects them.
After hearing the many stories from celebrity actresses, it becomes clear that these accounts were not rare, they were not isolated events, they were part of a culture that in fact reinforced the behavior of abuse through the inaction of spectators and lack of support for the women.
However, as more and more women came forward, the sense of isolation was lifted and a support system arose giving even more women the courage to come forward. Recent movements supporting women’s rights, such as the Women’s March, help give women a feeling of community support and a sense someone has their back.
The recent social media campaign #MeToo helped grow a global support network specifically for sexual assault survivors, or we could just say women.
It would not be a surprise if by continuing the momentum in support of survivors, more women feel empowered to come forward, which sometimes is the first step on the journey to heal.
Gonzales is a licensed clinical social worker and a clinical therapist with experience as a sexual assault advocate, school social worker and a human sexuality educator.
What’s New for HELP in 2018 – Most Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Will HELP be Expanding to LA county?
a) yes, providing home visits, and Pain Evals.
2) Will HELP be providing Telemedicine?
a) yes, we will offer medication management services soon.
3) Will HELP offer LIVE CHAT – ONLINE
a) we are looking into providing this service.
4) Will HELP offer Telehealth services for Medicare clients?
a) Yes, Medicare has approved these services based on certain guidelines. (feel free to contact the Help office for additional information @ 858-481-8827)
5) Will HELP be expanding to San Bernardino County?
6) Will HELP continue to recruit therapists?
a) Yes, we have a on line recruiter.
7) Will HELP accept Medical clients?
a) we are working very hard to contract with the HMO plans.
Welcome our newest providers:
- Rene Arlinghaus, LCSW- Inland Area
- Ben Fellman, PhD – Pain Evals. SD
- Genieve Gonzales, LCSW – SD
- Joanna Hamilton, LMFT – SD
- Jennifer Johnson, LCSW – North County
- Kelly Kaitson, LCSW – North County
- Rebecca Moore, Ph.D. – SD
- Nina Segal, LCSW – National City
- Debbie Vaugh, LMFT – El Cajon
- Victoria Rutsch, LMFT – Bay Area
- Jeff Winter, PsY – SD
- Maria Sadeghi, Psy.D. – Rancho Bernardo
- Jeanne Serra, LMFT – SD
Genevieve Gonzales, LCSW
She supports children, adults and couples on the journey to overcoming personal challenges, traumas and transitions to become the whole, empowered self and achieve full mind, body wellness. Because we are multifaceted beings comprised of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects it is important to address and promote healing to all these areas to become the best, most complete and healthy version of our selves. Genevieve employs a holistic approach to mental health and healing with the use of Integrative Psychotherapy, Spiritual Development and Clinical Nutrition to achieve optimal results. Genevieve is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Masters in Social Work, Pupil Personal Credential, Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a specialty in Human Sexuality and Minor in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University. Some of Genevieve’s experience and past achievements include 6 years of Inpatient Medical Social Work, 2 years providing therapy to children as a school social worker, volunteering as a Sexual Assault Response Team Advocate, hospice bereavement, couples counseling and as a Human Sexuality Educator for residential foster adolescents. In addition, Genevieve has been published in The San Diego Union Tribune for an article addressing the psychological and emotional effects of sexual harassment and trauma. Genevieve’s foundation as a therapist is based on compassion, understanding and a recognition that healing is client- centered and ultimately comes from identifying inner strengths and resources. Genevieve is currently accepting new patients for Telemedicine, office and home visits.
Oleg M. Gavrilyuk, M.D.
The choice of a medical profession for Dr. Oleg Gavrilyuk was not accidental. His father Moyshe Ayzenberg was a much-loved high school math teacher for 40 years, and his mother, Galina Gavrilyuk was a well-respected hematologist, both in the Ukraine. After graduating high school with honors, he entered Leningrad Medical Institute where his focus was in neuroscience and neurosurgery. He graduated Medical school, again, with honors and started working as chief of neurosurgery in the largest hospital in the Ukraine. At this time, Dr. Gavrilyuk was actively involved in Scientific research. He published many articles focused on different aspects of diagnosis and treatments for patients with intracranial aneurisms, convulsive syndrome, aphasia, spinal cord injury and brain edema.
After relocation to the US, from the Ukraine, he completed his residency at University of Massachusetts, Tufts University, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2000. Dr. Gavrilyuk has participated in multiple research trials for Eli Lilly, Sanofi Adventis, Wyeth, Novartis, Merck, Pfizer and Perdue pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Gavrilyuk joined a private practice in San Diego in 2001 and specialized in the rehabilitation of painful conditions, osteoporosis, acute and chronic joint pain, tendonitis, bursitis and neuropathy. Dr. Gavrilyuk specializes in PRP, joint Visco-supplementation, Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis. Dr. Gavriluk is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Dr. Gavrilyuk is well known and respected in the local Russian/Ukrainian community for his commitment to help those in need. He is a devoted grandfather and son and enjoys gardening in his free time. His approach to patient care is to treat his patients with individualized care to meet each patient’s needs, with compassion and effective medical treatment.
A MESSAGE FROM THE HELP TEAM:
Thanks for giving us the opportunity to work with you we look forward to another prosperous year in 2018.