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Every case of sexual harassment is different, but these tips can help if you want to take action.
USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s been more than a quarter century since Paula Coughlin blew the whistle on drunken aviators who sexually assaulted women at the Las Vegas Hilton during the 1991 Tailhook convention.

But this former helicopter pilot says she’s still paying a steep price for speaking out. The ensuing uproar over sexual abuse in the Navy didn’t just ground her military career. It grounded her career in the civilian world, too.

“I have been told by headhunters that I am unemployable,” says Coughlin.

She’s not alone. From Kellie Boyle, who says she lost a major contract and her career in political communications after she rebuffed a sexual advance from Roger Ailes, to Janelle Asselin, who gave up a promising career in the comic book industry, women who publicly accused men of sexual misconduct in the workplace told USA TODAY they suffered debilitating aftershocks while their harassers escaped with few, if any, consequences. 

Former legal secretary Rena Weeks says she never worked again after winning her sexual harassment lawsuit against the Baker & McKenzie law firm in 1994. She says partner Martin Greenstein groped her and made crude remarks, grabbing her breast while dropping M&M candies in the pocket of her blouse. 

Her legal win — $7.1 million, later reduced to $3.5 million — sent such shudders through the law business that her lawyer warned her firms would blacklist her. So she gave up her career and moved to Seattle with her CPA husband. 

Even in the midst of the nation’s ever-widening sexual harassment and abuse scandal, she says it’s hard to believe that women will fare much better today than she did.

“You are still going up against the old boys network,” she says. 

Yet, for the first time, men are the ones being ousted from their jobs by a new wave of women who are bypassing the legal system and going straight to the court of public opinion, armed with screenshots, diary…