She was alone in the dark room when it happened. The lights were off, but she could feel him behind her, a presence standing
close in the darkness. Anna paused in the midst of popping the X-ray film from the cassette. She felt the heat rush to her
face and the slow cascade of sweat tracing a line down the back of her neck. He was close, so close, and he wanted her to
know it. "Oh my God," she thought. "What am I going to do?" She heard him chuckle before he leaned forward, grinding the front
of his body against her back.
"You know you like it," he said, laughing.
Too scared to scream. Embarrassed. Ashamed. She didn't want the other technicians to know. What would they think? She was
young, new, vulnerable. He knew it. Her stomach rolled with the sensation of his body pressing against her own. She whirled
and kicked him in the crotch. He laughed again and stepped back. Then he left the room.
Anna's experience may sound extreme, but it's not as unusual as you might think. About one-third of veterinary team members
say they've experienced sexual harassment at work, according to a 2007
VetMedTeam.com survey. And it's not surprising. Ninety-five percent of team members are women, according to 2007 Firstline research, and women are much more likely to experience sexual harassment than men. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) reported males filed only 16 percent of the 12,510 complaints in fiscal year 2007.
Traditionally, veterinarians and practice owners have been male, and 2007 market research from the American Veterinary Medical
Association (AVMA) shows 53.5 percent of veterinarians in private clinical practice are male. This demonstrates the pattern
experts often see in sexual harassment cases: Women are more likely to face sexual harassment when they enter a male-dominated
profession, according to research published in the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Can you protect yourself? Sometimes. Our experts agree these cases can happen to almost anyone, but you can decrease your
risk—and learn how to correctly handle any experience you face. Consider these true stories from readers like you and advice
from legal and human resources experts.