It’s true that most sexual harassment cases involve female victims in the United States. In fact, 50 percent of women say that they have experienced workplace sexual harassment while at work. However, men can be the victims of sexual harassment too.
A recent survey showed that one out of three American men say that they have been sexually harassed at least one time during the last year. Also, 16 percent of the sexual harassment lawsuits filed via the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2011 involved male victims. As of 2013, this figure increased to 17.6 percent.
Sexual harassment complaints from men are not taken seriously
Strict laws exist to prevent sexual harassment from happening – and it doesn’t matter the sex of the victim. Nevertheless, employers and superiors often don’t take male victims seriously when they report instances of sexual harassment. Researchers have performed numerous gender-biased studies about the effects of sexual harassment on women – in terms of job prospects and emotional consequences – but very few have performed sexual harassment studies that include victims from the male demographic.
Nevertheless, when the statistics are viewed, it’s clear that men are regularly victims of all types of sexual harassment. These victims are most prevalently from sexual minority categories, including those who are gay, bisexual or transgender. Some believe that the most vulnerable men have behavior that challenge existing gender hierarchies, so they attract bullies who disapprove of their way of life. Something similar happens to women, as female employees with feminist beliefs tend to attract bullies too.
That said, men from all categories of sexual orientation become victims of sexual harassment, so it’s important that we don’t rule out any category of male. No matter their orientation, employers may expect men to be “tougher” or more “masculine,” and deal with the abuse when it happens. When men complain, they can experience ridicule by bosses for being “weak” and not being able put up with something that the bosses categorize as trivial.
Men can stand up for their rights too
Male victims of sexual harassment should feel emboldened by the law, which is completely on their side. If you’re being hurt emotionally, psychologically, financially or professionally by on-the-job sexual harassment – no matter your gender, race or creed – you can make the harassment stop by learning more about your legal rights and doing everything you can to assert them at work, and if necessary, in court.