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I had some time to think this over. I think my answer to this is probably going to evolve over time as I gain more experience, but I wanted to provide at least a starting point in case anyone else is also dealing with this. Thank you for your responses gn and cloud. I appreciate it.

There are lots of barriers in being able to respond the way we want in workplace sexual harassment. If it’s a boss, we have to think about influence on work environment, evals, promotions, etc. If it’s a patient/client, we have to think about what’s acceptable legally. Barriers within ourselves include our fight/flight/freeze response, doubt that the situation was as bad as we thought (happens in any sexual violence), personal past experience, perceived level of threat, etc. I’ve realized from the outside looking in people don’t understand these barriers sometimes. It’s not as simple as “just do this.” The response will be different in different situations. I’m in a male-dominated profession. It makes it hard.

It is comforting to realize that there are options because I had a hard time seeing them last week. For example silence; diverting the conversation; warning the person this is inappropriate and will not be accepted; leaving the situation to collect your thoughts; getting help/leaving and getting someone to come in your place of accompany you; reporting. Seeing the options makes me feel less powerless and therefore less angry. That feeling of anger came from feeling powerless to be able to change the situation. Sometimes the safest option in the moment is silence, and sometimes its not even about options but silence happens due to the freezing in response to the threat. But we can act later through different avenues to do something about it. We can have conversations later, or report things later, or educate later. Sometimes a simple one-liner “that is not okay” “that is making me uncomfortable”, etc. can be helpful when we can’t think of anything else.