- Sexual harassment, sexual assault and abuse of women are terrifying events
women can experience.
- An especially powerless group is the approximately 500,000 women in the United
States who are migrant farmworkers. These women earn low wages by picking
fruits and vegetables in the field. Unfortunately, female farmworkers are about 10
times more likely than other female work-ers to experience sexual harassment and
- Sexual harassment, sexual assault and abuse of women share similarities.
o One similarity is that all three situations involve some form of violence
either physical or emotional.
o Asecond similarity in these three situations is that men typically possess
more power than women. Sexual harassers are usually persons with power
at work or in an academic setting.
children begin to learn these messages about power and gender
roles. The media also play an important role in conveying these
messages, because they show men who are influential, powerful,
physically strong, and violent especially compared to the women
in the media. In a sense, sexual harassment, rape, and the abuse of
women all represent a tragic exaggeration of traditional gender
o Athird similarity focuses on entitlement, a concept we examined in
Chapter 7, on women and work.
In our culture, many men have a sense of entitlement; based on
their membership in the male social group, they believe they have
a right to certain privileges and rewards when they interact with
o Fourth, in all three kinds of victimization, women are left feeling even less
powerful after the violence.
o Afifth similarity is that women seldom regain power by reporting the
violence committed against them.
Legal proceedings are often embarrassing and humiliating; they
invade a womans right to womans privacy even fur-ther.All these
acts of violence encourage women to become more silent and more
o Last point- people often blame the victim Ex:Awoman is sexually
harassed because those tight pants invite it. And etc. IN contrast, the
aggressor is often perceived as behaving like any normal male.
Although attitudes are changing, the aggressor may receive little blame for
- Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment refers to unwanted gender- related
behavior, such as sexual coercion, offensive sexual attention, sexual touching, and
hostile verbal and physical behaviors that focus on gender.
- Most sexual harassment situations occur in either a work setting or a school
setting. - According to North American surveys, women are between two and ten times as
likely as men to report that they have been sexually harassed.
- TheAmerican legal system now prohibits two kinds of sexual harass-ment.
o In the first kind, called quid pro quo harassment, a powerful individual
in a university or the workplace makes it clear that someone with less
power must submit to sexual advances to obtain something, such as a good
grade in a course, a job offer, or a promotion.
o The second kind of sexual harassment is called hostile environment.
Hostile- environment harassment applies to a situation in which the
atmosphere at school or at work is so intimidating and unpleasant that a
student or an employee cannot work effectively.
- EXAMPLE OF: Quid pro quo sexual coercion.Awoman namedAnna and her
supervisor, Jason, were on a work- related trip. During this trip, Jason kept talking
about sex and rubbing her shoulders and neck. She did not respond, and so he told
her to loosen up. Anna later asked about opportunities in the company for
promotion. Jason replied, Youll need to loosen up and be a lot nicer to me
before I can recommend you. Then he placed his arms around her waist and
added, Remember, I can make your life very easy or very difficult here ( Foote
& Goodman- Delahunty, 2005, p. 54).
- EXAMPLE OF Hostile environment in an academic setting.At a university in
Texas, a professor who taught courses in criminal justice was accused of kissing
and hugging several female students. His comments were equally offensive. For
example, he told one woman that she would not know real happiness until she
had sex with a married man like himself ( R. Wilson, 2004, p.A12). Notice that
this example cannot be classified as quid pro quo harassment because the
professor did not specify an academic reward for sexual activity.
- EXAMPLE OF 3. Hostile environment in the workplace. In a study of Black
female firefigh-ters, more than 90% said that they had experienced unwanted
sexual teasing, jokes, and remarks on the job ( J. D. Yoder &Aniakudo, 1997).
The women also reported that their male coworkers harassed them by pouring
syrup into their firefighting boots and bursting in while they were using the toilet.
Its likely that sexism and racism combined to create an especially hostile
environment for these women. This hostile workplace variety of sexual
harassment could also include suggestive remarks and nonverbal gestures
( McDonald et al., 2010).
Why Is Sexual Harassment an Important Issue
- 1. Sexual harassment emphasizes that men typically have more power than
women in our society.
- 2. Sexual demands are often coercive because women are offered economic or
academic advantages if they comply, but harmful consequences if they say no.
- 3. Sexual harassment dehumanizes women and treats them in a sexist fash-ion;
women are seen primarily as sexual beings rather than as intelligent and
competent employees or students.
- 4. Women are often forced to be silent, because they are afraid, and yet they need
to continue either in the workplace or at school.
- 5. If sexual harassment occurs in a public setting, without condemnation from supervisors, many onlookers will conclude that sexist behavior is acceptable.
How Often Does Sexual Harassment Occur
- It is extremely difficult to estimate how frequently sexual harassment occurs.
- The boundaries of sexual harassment are often unclear.
- Also, people are reluctant to use the label sexual harassment, even when they
have experienced clear- cut harassment
- Reports of sexual harassment on college campuses suggest that between 20% and
40% of undergraduate and graduate women students have been harassed.
- The incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace varies widely throughout the
United States and Canada, depending on the employment setting. Women
employed in traditionally male occupations are especially likely to experience
- Sexual harassment is not limited to NorthAmerica. Reports come from countries
such as England, Germany, the Netherlands,Australia, Pakistan, India, Taiwan,
Argentina, and Turkey. In all the cultures examined so far, one universal finding is
that only a small percentage of women choose to report the sexual harassment to
Women`s Reactions to Being Sexually Harassment
- Sexual harassment is not simply a minor inconvenience to women; it can change
their lives. If a woman refuses her bosss sexual advances, she may receive a
negative job evaluation, a demotion, or a transfer to another job. She may be fired
or pressured into Awoman who has been har-assed in an academic setting may
drop out of school or miss classes taught by the harasser
- Most women experience lonliness, anxiety, fear, self- doubt, embarrassment,
helpless-ness, and depression when they have been sexually harassed.
- they also report reduced job satisfaction and reduced life satisfaction. Some
develop eating disorders. They may also feel ashamed, as if they were somehow
responsi-ble for the harassment.
- Awoman who has been sexually harassed may become less self- confident about
her academic or occupational abilities.
- Common physical reactions include headaches, eating disorders, substance abuse,
and sleep disturbances
- Another problem is that a womans friends may not think that sexual harassment
is an important problem.
- Researchers in a variety of countries have measured studentsattitudes about
sexual harassment. For example, Kennedy and Gorzalka ( 2002) asked students at
a Canadian university to complete a 19- item questionnaire. They found that
females were more likely than males to believe that sexual harassment is a serious
What to Do about Sexual Harassment
- IndividualAction (at a school setting)
o Become familiar with your campuss policy on sexual harassment, and
know which officials are responsible for complaints.
o If a professors behavior seems questionable, discuss the situation objec-
tively with someone you trust. o If the problem persist