I studied sexual harassment issues in a college course on labor laws, and realized that my friend seemed to be the victim of sexual harassment by her boss. This friend got her job only in this spring after graduating from junior college. She told me that she was forcibly invited for a dinner, taken to a massage lounge with him, and taken home by his car with no specific reason. I have come to believe it is a sexual harassment case. Although she does not admit it this, she seems very embarrassed when she talks about it.

I want to do something for her before this becomes a big problem. There are only five employees at her work and there seems to be a certain atmosphere that no one could oppose against the boss because they are afraid of being fired. I already suggested to her casually that this is a sexual harassment case, but she does not want to admit it. She is in denial. How can I sufficiently persuade her into realizing she is a victim? (Mika from Aichi Pref. ,21 yrs. old )


Dear Mika

I can really empathize with your concern for your friend. Unfortunately, it happens many times that a victim tries not to admit a DV and/or harassment case. If and when those concerned realize it, they still cannot leave the situation as it is, and they must think about solving the problem while staying in the situation. The solution, however, is never achieved easily, and the situation continues ambiguously.

If your friend begins to be aware of her problem and refuses any kinds of invitations by her boss—or if she even takes it to court—there is a possibility for her to be fired. You should pay attention to this point. You may ask her if it is OK to lose her job? I’d like you to realize that there may be not much you can do for your friend right now.

Do I sound indifferent? No, no. I just want to say this case is not about a simple sense of justice. What you can do is to carefully listen to her while staying a good reliable friend of hers so that she can talk to you any time about the issue, because it could be the most disastrous for her not to be able to talk to anybody.

Please take precedence her difficult situation over your concern. When she realizes this is a harassment case and wants to do something, then you can help her make complaints to her boss or go to certain consultation offices of the labor agency (union). There should ones around you.