While sexual harassment cases detailed in the media often highlight female victims, men, too, are common victims of this behavior in the workplace. You may face a lower risk of experiencing this harassment as a male than you would as a female. Yet, you may face challenges and stigmas associated with reporting the behavior that may differ from those faced by female victims.
According to recent research by Marketplace.org, about 1 out of every 7, or about 14%, of male employees say that they have experienced sexual harassment at work. In 2017, this figure was a bit higher, with about 17% of all sexual harassment complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission coming from men.
Barriers keeping men from reporting harassment
Some believe that the true number of males experiencing sexual harassment in their places of business is higher than estimates suggest. However, many male victims might hesitate to call attention to the behavior for fear of how their peers and colleagues might perceive it.
For example, you and other men might have concerns about looking “unmanly” if you refuse the advances of a female colleague or boss. Also, you might be hesitant to call attention to the harassment because you feel as if a man doing so somehow breaks societal norms.
Actions for victims of sexual harassment
When you experience sexual harassment at work, it may contribute to a hostile work environment. You have a right to feel comfortable at work. By coming forward, you may help encourage other male victims to do the same.
Your ability to prove that sexual harassment occurred is stronger when you show a pattern of behavior that occurred over time. Make sure to document all instances of the behavior, being careful to record dates, times and the names of anyone who might have been present when it took place. You may want to do so using electronic means so you have a trail of evidence to refer to if necessary.