Sexual harassment against men: It's more common than you think
By Raj Kumar Singh
Sexual harassment of men is prevalent, yet feminists would have us believe that only men are perpetrators, and only women are victims.
Men Don't Tell
1994 Federal Way, WA - Let's look at some of the ways in which men can be illegally discriminated against on the job, concentrating specifically on sexual harassment.
The wording of various governmental definitions of sexual harassment will differ slightly, but they are nearly all identical in actual content. A representative version defines it as follows:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute(s) sexual harassment when:
Note that the definition above is gender neutral; i.e., it applies as much to male victims and female perpetrators as to the opposite, and for good reason. In real life, harassers are often female, victims are commonly male.
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment;
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Statistics are only relevant to a point. Numbers of complaints cited don't reflect the full extent of male victimization because they were raised in a society where men are devalued for complaining and seeking help in the face of hardship. And to the man who faces sexual harassment from a female supervisor or coworker, the suggestion that his situation represents a statistical irregularity seeks only to marginalize his plight -- to shove him and his problem off to the side.
Regarding male victimization and harassment of men by women, I can guarantee you that anything you can imagine has happened before, is happening today and will occur again in the future -- believe it! From a men's issues perspective, the question is, "How much will a man tolerate?"
How Much Men Tolerate
If a female worker puts up a photo of a nearly nude male, that's harassing to men; just as women find it objectionable to be forced to view shots of females in string bikinis in the workplace. When a female worker wears a form-fitting, low-cut sweater, that's legally unacceptable if a reasonable man would find it to be a distraction which would interfere with his work performance, per paragraph (c) above. If a female supervisor scolds a man for an error, in part by using a joke involving a Lorena Bobbitt reference, she's broken the law and the man is the victim.
Many of our language's "dirty" words are sexually charged. When words or gestures that contain a sexual element are used in the presence of male workers, that may be grounds for a complaint or lawsuit. And remember that one wishing to bring a "hostile work environment" claim is not limited to harassing behavior which is sexual in nature, but also where employees in the workplace are made objects of ridicule or abusive and demeaning actions simply because of their sex. Put more simply, in the workplace, male bashing is illegal.
A Simple Test
What's the simplest test for determining what's okay and what isn't from the male view? Revert to the stereotype for a moment and imagine that the person on the receiving end of the behavior is a woman. If it isn't good for the goose, it's not good for the gander.
To the men reading this today, I ask: Where will you draw the line? Are you so starved for attention from women that you'll take satisfaction in the false sexual come-ons of female coworkers? Is the stimulation of a supervisor winking, putting her arm around you, calling you "babe" or "honey," and plopping down in your lap once in a while really accomplishing something for you? If a male worker forces sexual humor on you will you force a laugh and put up with it? Or are you ready to decide that the workplace is for work and that you deserve as much respect as anyone else, even though you're just a man?
What You Can Do
Call your nearest U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Office for more information about your rights under the law. Or contact your governor's office to find out which state and local agencies will accept sexual discrimination complaints. Or contact an attorney. Or, if you choose, just live with the harassment. It's up to you.