Internship is a great opportunity for students to expand their knowledge and skills. It is a professional adventure into the real working environment. Usually, the internship is a must do/take for all university/college students, it’s something you cannot avoid. At the place of work, interns face a lot of challenges, the most common being sexual advances from superiors, workmates or even intern supervisors.
This cumbersome situation is not only faced by females, but male interns also find themselves caught in such difficult situations. You might want to be straightforward with the person making the advances but given your position as opposed to his/hers. Things might just get complicated and I’m sure losing your internship placement or being failed intentionally is not something you desire. So how do you go about sexual advances at the place of work?
1. Seek advice/guidance from someone you trust.
You can reach out to someone older than you, a person you trust, but preferably not your parents because they might freak out and cause problems with your supervisor or try to make you stop taking the internship. You can also seek spiritual and mental help too.
2. Talk to the person
Plan to have a mature, heart to heart conversation with the person making sexual advances to you. Make him/her understand how uncomfortable it makes you. Explain that you think it’s not professional to date or have sexual relations at the workplace.
3. Decline going on events after work together
If the person invites you for a drink or dinner after work, say no to it. Spending extra time together could give space for the rise of a personal relationship, something you don’t want to happen.
4. Do not lead them on
Some people have a no, which is a no-yes. You could verbally reject the person but show something totally different with your actions. Have a firm no, reject all sexual advances and mean it. Be true to the both of you.
5. Avoid spending private time together
In case you’re working on a project with the person making sexual advances to you, make sure there is always another person on the team around. Do everything possible to show that the time you spent together was professional time and nothing beyond a professional relationship.
6. In case of harassment, document the incidents
If the talks and all other ways have failed, be sure to record voice or even video if possible. Keep old messages, texts or email, anything that can be used as evidence, so that if need be, you can provide evidence of sexual harassment.