While women file the majority of sexual harassment claims, it is interesting to see men speaking up about workplace harassment. As a feminist, I believe that the workplace should be a safe place where your gender shouldn't be an issue and that supervisors shouldn't use force and sexual intimidation as a way to keep employees in line.
As I looked into the phenomena of male sexual harassment, I was surprised to learn that the majority of complaints filed by men were made against male supervisors and co-workers. It seems that men who don't fit the stereotype of the “masculine man” are often the ones who are targeted for this type of harassment. From unwanted sexual advances, being touched inappropriately or being forced to tolerate crude remarks and slurs because they are gay, are perceived as gay or just aren't manly enough, these men have legitimate complaints.
For a long time, employers have looked the other way when it comes to gender discrimination and sexual harassment as it pertains to men. There is this “boys will be boys” attitude, the mindset being that men aren't as sensitive to such things and that sexual harassment is only against the law if you are doing it to women. And what's worse, men who file complaints are less likely to be believed than their female counterparts. And, we all know that most of the time, people blame the victim in cases of sexual assault or harassment. But the truth is, no one deserves to have to deal with harassment, assault and a hostile workplace environment.
Sexual harassment is illegal. It can happen to men or women. It happens more often than it is reported. And, if it is under-reported by women, I can only imagine how often this type of behavior goes unreported by men. I, personally have seen instances in my own professional life where men are called “dogs” or “studs” and are subjected to supervisors patting them on the backside or calling their sexuality into question. The problem is that most men would never admit to having a problem with it or feeling uncomfortable by it, even if they were.
What do you think about make sexual harassment? Have you ever witnessed this type of behavior? Let me know in the comments.
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By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.