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Washington and Lee University

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Unreported Misconduct: Why People Choose Not to Tell

  • Embarrassment
  • Belief that the behavior will end if ignored
  • Fear of losing one's status, social options, rank or job
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Fear of being blamed for inviting the misconduct
  • Concern about not being believed
  • Concern about being labeled a troublemaker
  • Fear of harmful rumors
  • Fear of the loss of privacy
  • Conviction that nothing will be done about the problem
  • Fear that the complaint process could be worse than the
    misconduct
  • Fear of ostracism by other people, both male and female
  • Fear of losing friends
  • Fear of being called weak, cold, uptight, or prudish

List adapted from "The Educator's Guide to Controlling Sexual Harassment,"
Thompson Publishing Group