While the #MeToo movement has created awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace, many are still hesitant to report it — especially men. Even though the nature of sexual harassment is serious, men are often taken less seriously due to the stigmas and misconceptions associated with male behaviors. Here are some reasons why men are more likely to sweep their sexual harassment experience under the rug.
COMMON REASONS WHY MEN WON’T REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Male sexual abuse and harassment often come with many stigmas. Society expects men to behave “manly” and hide their vulnerabilities. There’s also the misconception that it’s impossible for a man to be sexually assaulted or harassed by a woman. Men may not report sexual harassment for the following reasons:
- Fear of being mocked by co-workers and friends.
- Fear of retaliation from their employer — (wrongful termination).
- Fear that being harassed by another male may implicate their own sexuality.
COMMON TYPES FO SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE
Both men and women may be subject to the following types of sexual harassment:
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment
“Quid pro quo” means “this for that” in Latin. This type of harassment may occur when a supervisor asks or hints for sexual favors in return for certain employee benefits (i.e., promotions, trips, and/or raises).
- Hostile Work Environment
Being subjected to a hostile work environment could include unwelcome sexual advances, gestures or jokes, which can make an employee feel intimidated or threatened. A hostile work environment may not necessarily be prompted by a supervisor — co-workers, clients, and other business-related associates could be to blame as well.
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU’VE BEEN SEXUALLY HARASSED IN THE WORKPLACE
While it may be uncomfortable, the first thing you should do is report the harassment to your human resources department. It’s also important to note the details of your experience should it escalate further and a lawsuit becomes necessary. It’s critical to record the following information:
- Times, dates and locations where the sexual harassment occurred.
- Names of all parties involved.
- How the sexual harassment encounter made you feel.
- How your work performance has been affected.
- The impact of the harassment on your overall well-being.
Sexual harassment is a sensitive issue and can be difficult for men to speak out against their harasser. If you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, we can help.