Where are the missing victims?

Sexual harassment is not rare; it is extremely widespread. 40 – 60 % of working women and students at colleges are effected by sexual harassment. The “Legal definition of Sexual Harassment According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: 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 substantial interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”Image

One myth is that sexual harassment is over exaggerated and that this harassment is trivial and harmless flirting, but its not. Sexual harassment is actually the complete opposite of being over exaggerated. Studies show that most harassment has nothing to do with flirtation or sincere sexual or social interest.  Research shows that women are often forced to leave school or work to avoid harassment and may experience serious psychological and health related problems.  Another myth is that women make up and report stories of sexual harassment to get back at their employers or others who have angered them, but research shows less than one percent of complaints are false. Women rarely file complaints that are false; they rarely file them when they’re justified in doing so.

But where are the male victims in all of these studies? All the research I have done on sexual harassment and assaults always seem to leave out one kind of victim and that is male victims, but not all male victims, specifically male victims with female aggressors. Its hard to determine anything about male victims, because men are unlikely to report sexual harassment.  Research has shown that women are more likely to report sexual harassment than men are, it also seems that women are also the targets of sexual harassment more often than men, but how do we know this is true if they do not report it? Sexual harassment actually occurs with some regularity by both men and women. These reported cases of such harassment have increased dramatically over time, the amount of harassment incidents reported by men increased greatly between 1992 and 2009. I wonder why this might be for the men? Is it now considered okay in our society for men to report sexual harassment? Why wasn’t this okay before?

I think our society always puts these ideas in our heads of what is okay for a man to think or feel.  Men are supposed to feel and look like big strong men and nothing can hurt them, but in reality this hurts them more, because they feel the need to keep things in.  Is this the reason men do not report sexual harassment, I do not know. Is it the idea that a woman is weaker than a man, so she can’t really cause pain, I don’t know.  What I know is that women do commit sexual harassment on a men and they don’t get charged with it, because the men do not report it.


I have inserted a link to a sexual harassment video, that yes is definitely outdated, but if you have ever had to sit through one of these videos at work it will look much like this video. At my previous job, the owners would make us watch a sexual harassment video every year to make sure that we all knew what sexual harassment was.  In this video its interesting to see that they don’t even show a woman conducting the harassment on a man, but they do show a man harassing a man.


About ccrew05

ODU Senior majoring in criminal justice and minoring in psychology!
This entry was posted in Law/ Litigation, Masculinities, Work. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Where are the missing victims?

  1. I would be interested to learn whether sexual harassment for men is more common with a female or male instigator. As you say, harassment is not flirtation gone awry therefore male-male sexual harassment is not inherently homosexual. It includes anything that makes the workplace uncomfortable or intolerable. So for example, vulgarity or insulting behavior. Or hazing. All of these can be considered harassment.

    • ccrew05 says:

      I believe that research shows that it is males who instigate more than females, but that there is a lack in research for female instigators. Often males experience harassment and they don’t report it, because it is taken as an everyday joke between friends.

  2. jcole053 says:

    This is an interesting view on sexual harassment. I automatically pair sexual harassment with an act against women in the workplace. There was an incident at my workplace where a past homosexual male employee would make inappropriate remarks about other male employees, but the victims’ claims were laughed at and made into a joke. If a female had been on the other end of some of the crude remarks there may have been a different outcome.

    • ccrew05 says:

      I have actually had a friend who reported being sexually harassed at her job and it was definitely taken very seriously instead of it being turned into a joke.

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