While women are most often thought of as the victims of sexual harassment, this is not always the case. An increasing number of male employees have come forth to file sexual harassment claims against their co-workers and managers.
Of the 7,514 sexual harassment claims filed by American employees in 2019, 16.8% were filed by males, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is an increase from the 15.9% entered by males in 2018. The numbers are thought to be higher, as some men fail to make sexual harassment claims because they are ashamed or embarrassed to come forward.
Sexual harassment defined
This type of harassment occurs when people make unwanted advances or comments of a sexual nature toward someone in the workplace. Harassment may be something as simple as an unwanted back massage, rubbing, unwelcome comments, jokes or another type of touch, and can become as serious as a threat of job loss if the victim does not comply with the proposed activities.
Not only do victims feel uncomfortable at work, but they may show reduced productivity and have an increase in absences from work.
Males as victims
Males are often victimized by other men or women who have a higher rank in the company. Some may feel as though they will be retaliated against or lose their jobs as a result of reporting instances of harassment or abuse.
Washington Post reported that men are often harassed as a way to assert power, humiliate another person or to pursue sexual desires and attractions. They may be told they cannot advance in the company or can not get a raise if they do not comply.