Sexual harassment has been around for a very long time. We’ve seen many instances where women were harassed at work, online, and in various other circumstances. The issue is that tables seem to be changing, and more men are reporting being sexually harassed.
What changed? Is sexual harassment only beginning, or has it been there all along? It is more common than we thought it would be? Are we giving men too much hell for thinking they don’t know what women are going through? We will find out the truth just shortly.
Can a Man Be Sexually Harassed?
If we check the cases filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, we will see that most of them were filed by women. To be more precise, a total of 5,581 sexual harassment claims were filed in 2021, only 15.3% of them being filed by men.
In general, women are more likely to be victims of sexual harassment. However, as gender equality and the women’s empowerment movement are taking place, more men are beginning to be affected.
Why Men Don’t Report Sexual Harassment
Like women, men are also protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI. The problem is that, unlike women, men are more reluctant to file a sexual harassment claim. For instance, in California, it is known that many men are sexually harassed or taken advantage of at work or online. That being said, very few of them file a harassment claim.
According to many California sexual harassment lawyers, the main reasons behind that are pride and fear. First, they fear being mocked by their friends and their co-workers. If the harasser is of a higher power (i.e., their manager or boss), they fear retaliation in the form of wrongful termination.
Things take yet another turn when they are harassed by another man. If they were to report, they would need to implicate their own sexual orientation. Regardless of how they swing, a sexual harassment claim against another male person may bring unwanted attention.
While most men underestimate the sexual harassment level that women go through, they experience a certain stigma as well. Society has painted the man to be so “manly” that the idea of being sexually harassed by a woman seems impossible. This is why they keep everything in so that they could “be a man.”
Types of Sexual Harassment that Men Go Through
Like women, men go through different types of sexual harassment. This can include:
- Quid Pro Quo
“Quid pro quo” is a term that originates from the Latin language, meaning “this for that.” This harassment occurs when someone in a higher post (an employer, a supervisor, etc.) hints at or asks for sexual benefits in return for different favors. This can be anything from a raise, a promotion, or a trip. Numerous men feel constrained to accept so that they avoid workplace conflicts.
- Hostile Work Environment
When a man is part of a hostile work environment, it means that they are subjected to unwelcome sexual gestures or advances that make them feel threatened or intimidated. These jokes not only take place in the office but may follow them home as well (i.e., comments on their social media posts).
Unlike quid pro quo, hostile work environments are not always prompted by people in higher positions. This can be anything from a co-worker to a client or an associate that you are conducting business with.
What to Do If You Are Sexually Harassed
It may feel awkward, but the first thing you will have to do if you are sexually harassed is to pay a visit to the human resource department. The sooner you go there, the better it will be. It is essential to remember all of the details during the incident should it turn into a lawsuit.
Here are some important things you should note:
- When and where the sexual harassment incident took place
- Who offended you
- How it affected your work performance
- How the entire incident made you feel
- How it affected your well-being
Sexual harassment, especially for men, can be a rather sensitive issue. This is why so many companies set up sexual harassment workshops, to help companies manage the situation better. Before things become even more uncomfortable, you may want to file a claim and potentially get a lawyer.
The Bottom Line
While women fall victim to sexual harassment more frequently, men also have their problems. Sexual harassment is not to be ignored, regardless of gender. If you were harassed at work, you may want to file a complaint and take matters into your own hands.