Sexual harassment is a real and pervasive problem in the American workplace, and while women report more instances of on-the-job sexual harassment than men, women are not the only victims. According to Psychology Today, more than half of all American working women report being victims of work-related sexual harassment. In one recent survey, however, about a third of all men also reported experiencing sexual harassment at work at some point within the last year.
In actuality, however, the number of men who experience sexual harassment in the workplace may be far higher than reported.
A culture of silence
While both men and women may hesitate to speak up and call attention to instances of work-related sexual harassment because they, for example, fear losing their jobs, men may be particularly resistant to calling attention to this type of treatment. Part of the problem may be due to a prevailing cultural belief that men should behave in a particularly masculine manner, and that some men may feel as if requesting help dealing with such matters is not masculine. Some men also acknowledge that they hesitate to report sexual harassment on the job because they fear others will not believe their claims.
The recent study detailing instances of sexual harassment involving men also revealed that certain men may be more likely to be victims than others. For example, men who are also sexual minorities are more likely to experience job-related sexual harassment than their peers. Similarly, men who have characteristics that some might consider feminine, or men who overtly sympathize with feminist causes, are also more likely to experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
While the study revealed that men are experiencing job-related sexual harassment more and more, it also revealed some positive findings. For example, it showed that organizational policies meant to prevent and reduce sexual harassment in the workplace are often effective at minimizing such behavior.