Using nationally representative data from the 1992 U.S. National Health and Social Life Survey, this study queried the prevalence and risk factors of lifetime workplace sexual harassment among both women and men. Among those aged 18–60 reporting ever having worked, 41% of women (CI, 37–44) reported any workplace harassment over their lifetime, with men’s harassment prevalence significantly lower, at 32% (CI, 29–35). In the youngest age groups (those in their 20s or younger), there was no statistically significant difference between women’s and men’s harassment prevalence. Multivariate analysis of risk factors suggested that, in contrast to much of the harassment literature, among both genders workplace harassment seemed to have at least as much to do with a system of “routine activities” mechanisms—a victim’s conscious or unconscious sexual signaling, more exposure to potential harassers, and a perpetrator’s lower cost of harassment—as with unobserved differences in power between victim and perpetrator. Strikingly, both women’s and men’s harassment was strongly linked to markers of sexualization, whether early developmental factors or behavioral patterns in adulthood—a mechanism insufficiently emphasized in the harassment literature.
Source: “Sexual Harassment at Work in the United States” from Archives of Sexual Behavior, Volume 38, Number 6 / December, 2009
Just like the study on men and women’s desires for marriage and kids, this one threw me for a loop. I didn’t think this would be equal and I certainly didn’t think it would be equal at the ages when women are considered to be most physically attractive. However, it does seem that the sexual harassment of males may be on the rise and it may not be women who are responsible for all of it.
All of these studies may be skewed by the fact that in recent years some sexual harassment claims have gotten out of hand and enforcement has often become a zero-tolerance tyranny of paranoid HR and legal departments. For instance, how are you supposed to make a comedy show about relationships without making sexual jokes?
The sexualization factor mentioned at the end of the abstract might seem obvious to some but I posted before about how sexual harassment can be less about sexual desire and more about enforcing gender norms.