HARTFORD -- Roughly three dozen woman haven now come forward following sexual harassment allegations against the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The accusations against him have since sparked a social media fury under the #MeToo, opening up the new grounds for conversations about harassment situations.
“I even have participated in the Me Too campaign,” said Tanya Hughes, executive director of Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. “I can remember my first experience in high school where I was babysitting and I was sexually harassed by the male partner who was giving me a ride home.”
Stories like Hughes’ are popping up all over Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The buzz under #MeToo motivated by a tweet by actress Alyssa Milano who was urging women to speak up and speak out on the matter.
Hughes explained that sexual harassment is often kept secret and comes with a unique kind of pain.
“It’s a feeling of abandonment, it’s a feeling of embarrassment,” Hughes said.
“The campaign adds a voice and empowers people to feel like wow it’s not only me, because sometimes you feel like, ‘what did I do to invite that type of behavior?’ and it’s never invited and it’s never welcomed,” Hughes said. She and other advocates for victims urged those remaining silent to seek help, which may not always be easy. She went on to say when sexual harassment happens victim are typically afraid of losing their job or retaliation.
In Connecticut a victim of sexual harassment has 180 days to file legal action, but that action can only be taken once you’ve exhausted all option with the state’s Department of Human Rights and Opportunities.
The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities said over the past five years, claims numbered between 135 and 191 per fiscal year.
- FY 2016-17: 145 Sexual harassment claims
- FY 2015-16: 135 Sexual harassment claims
- FY 2014-15: 181 Sexual harassment claims
- FY 2013-14: 191 Sexual harassment claims
- FY 2012-13: 167 Sexual harassment claims
- Since July 1st of this year: 39 direct claims of sexual harassment.
To file a sexual harassment claim with the CHRO contact:
- COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES
- 25 Sigourney Street
- Hartford, Connecticut 06106
- TELEPHONE NUMBER (860) 541-3400; TDD NUMBER (860) 541-3459, and Connecticut Toll Free 1(800)
477-5737. Connecticut law requires that a formal written complaint be filed with the Commission within 180
days of the date when the alleged harassment occurred.