So far, the two women who accused GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain of sexually harassing them on the job have refused to make their identities known.

I don’t blame them.

Why become martyrs to a cause that’s not going to improve anytime soon?

They did the most that could be expected of any woman in such circumstances: They shared their complaints with their supervisors, determinations were made and modest monetary settlements were paid out to them in recompense.

That’s more than most people receive. While 1 in 6 people report being sexually harassed on the job, only 35 percent of them report it, according to the 2011 AOL Jobs Survey.

It’s hard enough deciding to report your garden-variety workplace bully, much less a public figure. Remember Anita Hill? Her decision 20 years ago to publically share what she knew about a Supreme Court nominee named Clarence Thomas when the two had once worked together resulted in a Capitol Hill circus, starring her.

Thomas still got the job.

And sexual harassment on the job still continues.

The fact that Cain’s accusers reported their complaints is commendable enough.

Doing so is hard. It’s scary.

I know.

I was once subject to a male co-worker’s verbal harassments on a daily basis. I did not perceive the abuse to be sexual in nature, but it created a hostile work environment, so much so that I suffered stomach pains and frequent nightmares.

My co-worker, when placed in a position to supervise me, would frequently scream at me about what he saw as my many shortcomings. He would belittle not only my work and my worth.

I was new to the job, new to the industry. There was definite room for improvement, no doubt, but what I was receiving was not constructive criticism with an eye toward needed training. It was abuse.

And I suffered it for months. I knew what was happening was wrong, but I feared reporting it. I feared not being believed, or that I would be seen as a crybaby and not a team player even if I was.

Luckily, I had allies on the job, other women who had been working there far longer than I and they helped to convince me to go forward and report the abuse.

I was more nervous than at any other time in my career, but I’m glad I did. My supervisor turned out to be supportive, and while my co-worker was not sanctioned, he and I were no longer scheduled to work the same shifts or shifts where he would be supervising me.

Still, I recognize that at the time that all this happened, I had little to lose. It was one of my first jobs out of college. I wasn’t up for any promotions. I had no kids, no car note, no spouse, and no need for benefits.

I don’t know if I would have made the same decision to go forward if I had had more on the line. And I don’t question Cain’s accusers’ decision not to come forward now.

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