When you see reports of workplace sexual harassment on the news, it is generally against women. Yet that is only part of the story. Everyone and anyone could become a victim of sexual harassment. Everyone and anyone could be a perpetrator, although most people would never dream of it.
A 2018 Pew Research study found that 59% of women and 27% of men said they had suffered sexual harassment at some point. 69% of those women and 61% of those men said it happened at work.
Are some people more likely to be harassed than others?
The figures showed differences between groups of people. These are the percentages of people in each group that said they had suffered it:
- 63% of white women but only 50% of Black or Hispanic women
- 25% of white men, 22% of Black men and 34% of Hispanic men
- 70% of women with a Bachelor’s compared to 46% who did not continue education beyond high school
- 27% of men with a Bachelor’s compared to 24% of men who did not continue education beyond high school
The problem with these figures is some people might still not have said yes, even if they had experienced it. That is a real-world issue, not just a survey one.
Most sexual harassment goes unpunished
One report estimates that only 0.2% of people who suffer sexual harassment at work file charges. The report does not clarify what percentage never even mentioned it to bosses. Yet it is unlikely that the companies themselves resolved all those missing cases without the need to take things further.
Many people are afraid to report things or believe doing so will not result. You have legal options if you suffer workplace sexual harassment, and the more people use them, the greater the chance of tackling this widespread problem.