Sexual harassment is a problem that plagues many workplaces in California. Often, when people think about sexual harassment, they picture women as the recipient of the harassment. However, this harmful behavior does not solely affect women; men, too, can face this terrible behavior. It is such a prevalent situation that the California Department of Justice reported that over 50% of men in the workplace have reported sexual harassment.
It is helpful to understand how sexual assault can manifest in different ways and what steps you can take if you or someone you know faces such harassment.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment involves any unwanted sexual advances, comments or conduct that creates an intimidating or offensive work environment. While many think this only happens to women, it can occur to anyone, regardless of gender, including between people of the same sex.
Forms of sexual harassment affecting men
Sexual harassment affecting men can be similar to the experiences that women face. Unwanted physical contact, such as touching or groping, can occur. Verbal harassment might include lewd comments or requests for sexual favors. Visual harassment could encompass sharing or displaying sexually explicit images or content.
The impact on the afflicted
The effects of sexual harassment can be deeply damaging to anyone who experiences it. Those who face it may suffer emotionally through anxiety, depression or loss of self-esteem. Professionally, they may find it challenging to concentrate at work, leading to reduced performance or even job loss. Socially, the shame or embarrassment might cause them to withdraw from coworkers and friends.
Reporting and addressing sexual harassment
If you face sexual harassment in the California workplace, it is important to take action. Speaking up and telling the harasser that their behavior is inappropriate may be the first step if you feel comfortable doing so. It is essential to report the incident to your supervisor or human resources department. You can also report the incident to the California Civil Rights Department. Keep records of each incident, with details such as date, time and place, which will help support your case.
Recognizing that sexual harassment affects both genders is a vital step in creating a respectful and secure working environment. By being aware of the signs and knowing how to respond, you help contribute to a workplace where everyone feels valued and protected.