Sexual Harassment On Latinos


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Sexual Harassment On Latinos

  1. 1. VOLUME 8 | 2 JANUARY 2006 Linking Advocates & Researchers Sexual Harassment Letter From The Editor JANET ANDERSON, ADVOCACY EDUCATION DIRECTOR, WCSAP This edition of the Research and Advocacy Digest focuses on the phe- nomenon known as sexual harassment. In our attempt to be as broad as possible, we have included abstracts that deal with cultural, ethnic and racial perspectives on sexual harassment, issues specific to homophobic and heterosexist harassment, an analysis of sexual harassment complaints filed by women, sexual harassment on the internet, sexual harassment perpetrated against and by adolescents and college professors, incidences and prevalence of bullying, an analysis of sexual harassers, and an exami- nation of sexual harassment training programs. Furthermore, we have Inside included some statistics pertaining to sexual harassment and strategies that can be used to assist both victims and agencies as you work to fight 5-14 Research Articles against sexual harassment. 15 Statistics “ ...sexual harassment includes a wide range of behaviors 16 Additional Resources including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employ- ment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment” (U.S. Equal Employment Contributors Opportunity Commission). The topic of sexual harassment is often controversial due to differing Janet Anderson, Editor, WCSAP perceptions and definitions. Broadly, sexual harassment is defined as a Allen Trimmings, WCSAP form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, according to the EEOC, like other forms of sexual assault, “sexual harassment includes a wide range of behaviors including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment” (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). It is considered harassment when the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile A PUBLICATION OF | THE WASHINGTON COALITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT PROGRAMS
  2. 2. work environment or a supervisor’s harassing conduct results in a tangible change in an employee’s employment status or benefits (for example, demotion, termination, failure to promote, etc.) often referred to as quid pro quo. Regardless of its legal definition, sexual harassment is about power and status and is typically perpetrated by someone having power over someone with lower status or power. While the majority of sexual harassment is overwhelming targeted toward women, more and more studies are indicating that sexual harassment also applies to males as well as females and other adults, in addition to children and adolescents. For example, in 2004, the EEOC received 13,136 charges of sexual harassment and of the total, 15.1% of those charges were filed by males. A study entitled Hostile Hallways: Bullying, Teasing, and Sexual Harassment in School by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation found that: • 83% of girls and 79% of boys report having ever experienced harassment. • The number of boys reporting experiences with harassment often or occasionally has in- creased since 1993 (56% vs. 49%), although girls are still somewhat more likely to ex- perience it. • For many students sexual harassment is an ongoing experience: over 1 in 4 students ex- perience it “often.” • These numbers do not differ by whether the school is urban or suburban or rural. Much of the research contained within this Digest indicated that sexual harassment can be broken down into three categories: gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion. Gender harassment involves unwelcome verbal or visual comments and remarks that insult individu- als because of their gender and can include such things as posting pornographic pictures in public places, telling jokes and making gender related degrading remarks. Unwanted sexual attention refers to uninvited behaviors that explicitly communicate sexual desires or intentions toward another person such as staring at someone’s breasts or making comments that insinuate sexual activities. Sexual coercion involves putting physical or psychological pressure on a person to elicit sexual cooperation and can include touching, offering of bribes for sexual favors. This type of harassment is typically known as “quid pro quo.” (Barak, 2005). Interestingly one study which explored the nature of women’s sexual harassment complaints found that unwanted sexual attention accounted for the majority of the complaints (74%), while gender harassment accounted for 42% and sexual coercion accounted for 14% of the complaints (Walsh, 2000). In contrast, a study comparing offline sexual harassment to online sexual harassment found that gender harassment was the most common form of sexual harassment used on the internet. (Barak, 2005). Although research indicates that many schools and businesses have instituted sexual harassment policies and training programs, some of the research articles contained within this Digest indicate that these policies and training programs, while imparting knowledge, are ineffective at changing behavior, and at increasing reporting. In addition to making these training programs and policies more effective, one article also points to the need for policies and training programs to be culturally and gender relevant and accessible. As with other forms of sexual assault, sexual harassment carries a set of impacts and consequences such as having physical effects, emotional effects, job and [school] related effects and current and 2 JANUARY | 2006
  3. 3. future financial consequences. Harassment also has negative consequences on the environment victims are in and can lead to a hostile and less productive work and [school] environment. It costs organizations and schools through damaged morale, lawsuits and absenteeism. It allows for the degradation of women and the perpetuation of gender inequalities. (Ontario Women’s Justice Network). What To Do If You Are Being Sexually Harassed 1 Should a client indicate that they have or are being sexually harassed some actions for them to consider: • If the situation permits, tell the harasser that the sexual behavior is unwelcome, offen- sive, and should stop. • Keep a personal written record. Document as precisely as possible, the incidents as they happen. Include the names of any witnesses, your response, and steps you have taken with your employer to resolve the problem, and any other information that may be helpful later. • Make a copy of this record to keep in a safe place away from the workplace. • Find out if co-workers have experienced similar harassment from this person. • Report the complaint to your supervisor (or your supervisor’s supervisor if the harassment is from your supervisor). • Send a letter to the harasser by registered mail with return receipt requested. State your objections to the behavior and ask that this conduct stop. • Keep a copy of this letter and the return receipt showing that the harasser has received it. • If the behavior continues, file a complaint with your employer and/or with a govern- ment agency. Actions Employers Should Take Since sexual harassment is against the law, the law requires employers to give prompt attention to complaints of sexual harassment and to take appropriate action to prevent and discipline this be- havior. It is against the law to retaliate against an employee who makes a complaint about sexual harassment. The EEOC also advises that where employment opportunities or benefits are granted because of an individual’s submission to the employer’s requests for sexual favors, the employer may be held liable for unlawful sex discrimination against other persons who were qualified for but denied that em- ployment opportunity or benefit. Some actions that employers can take include the following: • Establish and communicate a strong policy statement prohibiting sexual harassment in your workplace. • Include the subject of sexual harassment in supervisory training programs and employee orientation. 1 (Montgomery County Commission for Women, Office of Human Rights). RESEARCH & ADVOCACY DIGEST 3
  4. 4. • Inform employees of appropriate procedures to follow for complaints of sexual harass- ment within your organization. • Investigate any claims of sexual harassment promptly and thoroughly and follow through on appropriate sanctions for offenders. • Be aware of liability in sexual harassment cases. Corporations, individual managers, supervisors and employees may be sued and held personally liable for their own conduct and for the conduct of employees whom they supervise. 2 As always, we hope that you find this information useful and relevant as you work to end sexual violence in all its forms. 2 (Montgomery County Commission for Women, Office of Human Rights). 4 JANUARY | 2006
  5. 5. Research Articles Hispanic Perspectives on Sexual Harassment adacculturationdition, other measures included and Social Support Organizational Tolerance of Sexual Harassment Cortina, Lilia, M. Society for Personality and and levels of Coping with Harassment Scales, Social Psychology, Vol. 30(5), May 2004, pgs. which assessed for job satisfaction and psycho- 570-584. logical distress. Although much research has focused on support- “ Because most of the participants in seeking processes, few studies have focused on this study perceived negative or less support seeking within the context of culture. Integrating literature on social support, sexual than satisfying responses from their harassment and cultural perspectives, this re- organizations, this research points to search seeks to answer the question “from whom the need for more culturally sensitive do Hispanic American women seek support to policies and practices within cope with the stress of sexual harassment?” The study examines both formal forms of support, organizations to increase support for such as filing an official complaint within the those who are experiencing organization, as well informal sources of support sexual harassment or other such as seeking help from family and friends. on-the-job stressors.” Using a cultural analysis, hypotheses were based on variables that included acculturation levels Results indicated that seeking support from all of the victim, social power of the harasser and three sources (family, friends and organization) severity of the harassment. correlated only with higher levels of accultura- tion, harassment severity and perpetrator power. “ In terms of quality of support, Conversely, the lower the woman’s acculturation harassed women perceived more level, the more likely they were to seek support supportive reactions when they from family and friends and not through more formal means. In terms of quality of support, turned to informal networks of harassed women perceived more supportive re- friends and family, and perceived less actions when they turned to informal networks positive reactions when they turned of friends and family, and perceived less positive to formal, organizational sources.” reactions when they turned to formal, organi- zational sources. When examining the impact Participants included 462 employed women of social responses, as expected, unsupported enrolled in vocational schools that served the responses correlated with less job satisfaction and Hispanic community. Of the 462, 249 indi- higher levels of psychological distress. Lastly, cated some encounter with sexual harassment the more powerful the perpetrator, the more within the workplace. The participants’ families likely victims sought support from all sources, originated from Mexico (90%), Central America including their organization. (3%), Puerto Rico (1%), and Cuba (1%), and the mean level of acculturation was rated as low Because most of the participants in this study to moderate. perceived negative or less than satisfying respons- es from their organizations, this research points The instruments used to measure the vari- to the need for more culturally sensitive policies ables were specifically designed to target those and practices within organizations to increase within the Hispanic community and included: support for those who are experiencing sexual Support Seeking, Acculturation Levels, Sexual harassment or other on-the-job stressors. This Experience, and Harassment Intensity Scales. In study also has implications for the continued RESEARCH & ADVOCACY DIGEST 5
  6. 6. need to explore how cultural, sexual victimiza- adversarial heterosexual beliefs, aggression and tion and support seeking behaviors intersect. alcohol expectancies increased sexually harassing behaviors. Regarding sexual coercion for men, adult sexual victimization and alcohol expec- Gender Differences in Sexual Harassment and tancies predicted this behavior while a hostile Coercion in College Students: Developmental, interpersonal style predicted sexually coercive Individual and Situational Determinants behaviors for women. Menard, Kim, S.; Hall, Gordon, Phung, Amber, H.; Ghebrial, Marian, K.; & Martin, Lynette. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 18(10), “ The results of this study point to October, 2003, pgs. 1222-1239. the need for providing early and ad- equate treatment for child and adult While studies have typically focused on the sexual assault victims as these factors perpetration of sexual harassment by males, this study examines sexual harassment and coercion were shown to increase the odds of tactics used by both males and females with a perpetrating sexually harassing and college setting. This study also examines how sexually coercive behaviors for both individual and situational factors influenced males and females.” these behaviors. The results of this study point to the need for Participants included 148 males and 278 females providing early and adequate treatment for child recruited from psychology and sociology classes. and adult sexual assault victims as these factors Participants were given a battery of question- were shown to increase the odds of perpetrating naires which measured their sexual attitudes sexually harassing and sexually coercive behav- and experiences as well as: 1) child sexual abuse iors for both males and females. Furthermore, experiences, 2) adult sexual victimization, 3) because alcohol use increased these behaviors, personality traits, 4) adverse heterosexual beliefs, a need for greater alcohol education amongst 5) non-sexual aggression behaviors, 6) alcoholcollege campuses is warranted. expectancies, 7) sexual harassment behaviors, and 8) sexual coercion indicators. The Influence of Race and Gender on Student Self-Reports of Sexual Harassment by College “ More specifically, men were twice Professors Kalof, Linda, Eby, Kimberly, Matheson, Jennifer, as likely to be sexually harassing and L.; & Kroska, Rob, J. Gender and Society, Vol. three times more likely to be sexually 15(2), April, 2001, pgs. 283-302. coercive as women.” Sexual harassment by college professors is a well- Results indicated that men had significantly documented phenomenon and studies estimate higher scores on both the sexual harassment that between 30-70% of females and 36% of and sexual coercion scales than women. More males have experienced sexual harassment in specifically, men were twice as likely to be sexu- college by professors. Traditional studies have ally harassing and three times more likely to be focused on sexual harassment of white women sexually coercive as women. Regarding sexually within the work setting but few to none have harassment behavior for men, higher scores on focused on the intersection of race, gender and childhood sexual abuse, hostility, adversarial sexual harassment within a college setting. heterosexual beliefs (beliefs that sexual relation- ships are antagonistic) and alcohol expectancies Sexual harassment in this study was defined (when I drink I get into fights) was shown to using several categories: 1) gender harassment predict higher rates of sexually harassing behav- - suggestive remarks, crude jokes, use of sexist ior. For women, adult sexual victimization, teaching materials, sexual comments, 2) seduc- 6 JANUARY | 2006
  7. 7. tion - offensive, but sanction free advances, 3) students, 7.7% of Hispanics, 10.9% of Asians, sexual bribery - solicitation of sexual activity 11% of whites and 4.1 percent of students from for the promise of rewards, or what is more other minorities. Sexual coercion was reported commonly known as “quid pro quo,” 4) sexual by only 9 students. coercion - threats of punishment and, 5) un- wanted sexual attention and/or sexual assault. “ In terms of race, 30% of the This study focused on three categories: gender African Americans experienced at harassment, sexual coercion and unwanted least one of the 16 incidents of sexual attention. sexual harassment by a college profes- “ Sexual harassment by college sor and at least one sexually harassing professors is a well-documented experience was reported by 30.8% of phenomenon and studies estimate Hispanics, 33.9% of Asians, 39.4% that between 30-70% of females of whites and 30.6% of the students and 36% of males have experienced from other minorities.” sexual harassment in college by Based on the results the authors’ hypothesis that professors.” there would be gender and racial differences in the overall incidence and types of sexual harass- Participants included 386 women and 139 men ment was not confirmed. enrolled in a large diverse university. The ethnic breakdown included 7.6% African American, This study is significant in that it demonstrates 63.2% Caucasian, 11.9% Asian, Pacific Islander extremely high rates of sexual harassment by or Filipino, 4.9% Hispanic and 9.5% of other professors within a college setting and points to minority groups. the need for more solid prevention and inter- vention strategies that are culturally competent Results indicated that 40% of the women and and relevant, particularly ones that help victims 28.7% of the men had experienced at least one and perpetrators understand what constitutes of the 16 incidents of sexual harassment identi- a sexually harassing act and consequences for fied. Gender harassment comprised the highest committing such offenses. incidence of sexual harassment with 38.9% of the women reporting and 26.6% percent of men Bullying and Sexual Harassment Among Bra- reporting this form, while unwanted sexual at- zilian High School Students tention was reported by 11.1% of the women DeSouza, Eron, R.; & Ribeiro, J’Aims. Journal and 6% by men. of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 20(9), September, 2005, pgs. 1018-1038. In terms of race, 30% of the African Americans experienced at least one of the 16 incidents of While attention to bullying and sexual harass- sexual harassment by a college professor and at ment have been explored in developed countries least one sexually harassing experience was re- like the United States and Europe, studies on ported by 30.8% of Hispanics, 33.9% of Asians, this subject have been neglected as it pertains 39.4% of whites and 30.6% of the students from to countries like Latin America. The authors other minorities. point out that bullying and sexual harassment in schools, colleges and universities in Latin In comparing gender harassment and race, 30% America is widespread and often tolerated due of African Americans reported this form of to the patriarchal nature of the culture and be- sexual harassment, 23.1% of Hispanics, 32.8% cause male power structures are embedded and of Asians, 36.5% of whites and 28.6% of other institutionalized. minority groups. Unwanted sexual attention was reported by 7.5% of the African American Four hundred high school students from RESEARCH & ADVOCACY DIGEST 7
  8. 8. two schools, with 200 coming from a pub- between bullying and peer sexual harassment lic school and the other 200 from a private and supports the notion that sexual harassment school participated. The sample included 237 is a form of bullying and are ways of attempting girls and 163 boys with 50% being Juniors to establish social dominance. Teacher norms, and 50% being Seniors. Measures included such as taking actions to curb such behaviors overall general misconduct, bullying, sexual had no direct correlation on sexual harassment harassment, and sexism scales. or its frequency. Possible explanations included overall school climate and lack of support from administrators. “ 60% (239) reported having bullied other students at least once or twice The authors recommend that school administra- within the past 30 days and of these, tors develop and institutionalize clear policies 85% reported bullying more than and strict enforcement policies and practices in addition to comprehensive prevention educa- twice, and 14% reported bullying tion programs for both students and personnel frequently.” and to evaluate both the policies and programs periodically to determine their effectiveness. 60% (239) reported having bullied other stu- dents at least once or twice within the past The Unexpected Effects of a Sexual 30 days and of these 85% reported bullying Harassment Educational Program more than twice, and 14% reported bullying Bingham, Shereen, G.; & Scherer, Lisa, L. frequently. Boys bullied their peers more often Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 27(2), than girls. Additionally, there was a correlation 2002, pgs. 125-153. between general misconduct and bullying for both boys and girls. Interestingly, the results Few studies on sexual harassment and evalua- demonstrated that that when boys perceived tion of training programs have been conducted that teachers would punish them for bullying, within an organizational setting, and more often they responded with more bullying behaviors than not, most of the research has focused on rather than less. Possible explanations included females. To address this gap, the purpose of boy’s need to assert independence and desire this study was to evaluate a sexual harassment to provoke responses from adults in positions program for employees within a medium-size of authority. Another interesting finding was university focusing on both males and females’ that hostile sexism did not correlate with higher experiences. Unlike other evaluation studies, rates of bullying. Explanations for this finding this sexual harassment program was developed include the fact that bullying behaviors often by a committee of staff and faculty members occurred between same-sex peers rather than rather than by the researchers themselves. The between other-sex peers. Lastly, girls who scored committee developed a 30 minute program higher on general misconduct were shown to with three components - 1) a three-minute demonstrate more bullying behaviors. videotape by the chancellor outlining the university’s policy and lack of tolerance of sexual “ Interestingly, the results demon- harassment, the harm of this conduct, reporting procedures, and consequences for perpetrators, strated that that when boys perceived 2) a handout and oral presentation by a mixed- that teachers would punish them for sex, two person team, focusing on definitions of bullying, they responded with more sexual harassment, forms and behavioral tactics, bullying behaviors rather than less.” potential victims and perpetrators, and, 3) a five minute discussion. Approximately 24% of the students reported having sexually harassed their peers with boys The program was administered to 100 men sexually harassing more often than girls. The re- and 97 women and results were compared to sults also demonstrated a significant correlation those who did not participate in the program 8 JANUARY | 2006
  9. 9. (141 men and 178 women) but who filled out a of this study had more to do with program questionnaire on the topic. Variables measured design which focused mainly on imparting included: 1) knowledge about sexual harass- information about the legal and policy as- ment, 2) perceptions and detection of sexual pects, avenues for reporting and punishments. harassment, 3) willingness to report, 4) attribu- Therefore, organizations need to develop more tions of blame, and 5) attitudes toward sexual comprehensive programs on sexual harassment behavior at work. programs that actually impact behavior rather than just impart knowledge on the legalities of the issue. Additionally, developing sexual harass- “ ...participating males reported less ment programs for specific audiences and target willingness to report sexual populations is also warranted. harassment than nonparticipating males, participating females or non- Gender and Power Issues of Peer Sexual participating females. Harassment Among Teenagers Regarding issues of blame, Fineran, Susan, & Bennett, Larry, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 14(6), 2000, pgs. participating males were 626-641. significantly more likely to blame the victim than all other groups.” Although research has focused on peer sexual harassment on college campuses, little attention Results indicated that those who participated in has been paid to sexual harassment experiences the program were significantly more knowledge- of students in middle and high schools. The able about the legal and policy aspects of sexual authors also point out that much of our society harassment. Gender did not have a significant typically views that sexual harassment behaviors role on the variable of knowledge. Gender as a part of normal adolescent development and and participation in the program also did not is often overlooked for the hurtful behavior have a significant effect on perceptions of what that it is. To fill gaps within the literature, the constitutes sexual harassment. Furthermore, purpose of this research was to identify what contrary to the intent of the program, results role gender, power and relationships play in peer indicated that participating males reported less sexual assault. Three hundred and forty two willingness to report sexual harassment than (342) students were given a battery of tests that nonparticipating males, participating females measured gender, power issues, relationships and or non-participating females. Regarding issues sexual harassing behaviors. The breakdown of of blame, participating males were significantly the students included 62% girls and 38% boys more likely to blame the victim than all other and was racially diverse. groups. Finally, men were significantly more likely than women to view sexual behavior “ Results indicated that 87% of girls at work as harmless. However, program par- and 79% of boys reported being the ticipants of both genders were more likely than non-participants to view that sexual behavior at targets of sexual harassment and work is inappropriate. 77% of girls and 72% of boys reported perpetrating “ The authors believe that the sexual harassment of their negative outcomes of this study had peers. Furthermore, the study more to do with program design demonstrated that girls were the which focused mainly on recipients of more overt forms imparting information about the sexual harassment and boys legal and policy aspects, avenues for perpetrated these behaviors more reporting and punishments.” often than girls.” The authors believe that the negative outcomes RESEARCH & ADVOCACY DIGEST 9
  10. 10. Results indicated that 87% of girls and 79% actions considered to be sexual harassment and of boys reported being the targets of sexual involved only male sexual harassment of females. harassment and 77% of girls and 72% of boys Based on the cases, four initial categories reported perpetrating sexual harassment of their were developed: 1) types of sexual harassment peers. Furthermore, the study demonstrated behavior, 2) the overtness of the behavior, 3) that girls were the recipients of more overt forms the number of victims, and 4) whether the sexual harassment and boys perpetrated these harasser was a repeat offender. Other issues, behaviors more often than girls. such as adversarial sexual beliefs, authoritarian personality, levels of sexual maturity, and the harasser’s desire for a relationship with the victim “ The results of this study also were also examined. demonstrated a strong link between the frequency of peer sexual Based on the results, two major themes emerged harassment, male power beliefs, and from the study - the number of victims targeted and the types of behaviors used. Some harassed personal power beliefs. More one or two victims repeatedly while those in specifically, peer sexual harassment the exploitive category targeted many victims creates and supports hierarchies in over an extended period of time. In addition, which boys and girls endorse beliefs the study identified four types of sexual harassment typologies. Type 1 perpetrators that males should be dominate and were viewed as persistent harassers - harassing thus can victimize more often to multiple victims over multiple incidents, Type assert this dominant stance.” 2 perpetrators also harassed many targets, used competitive and aggressive behaviors and viewed The results of this study also demonstrated a relationships with women as adversarial, Type 3 strong link between the frequency of peer sexual perpetrators were those in power positions over harassment, male power beliefs, and personal the victim and harassed a few victims when power beliefs. More specifically, peer sexual the situation allowed them to assert control, harassment creates and supports hierarchies in and Type 4 perpetrators were those seeking to which boys and girls endorse beliefs that males have a relationship with the victim, but used should be dominate and thus can victimize more emotionally coercive behaviors over an extended often to assert this dominant stance. Finally, period of time to solicit a relationship. this study indicated that society tends to view sexual harassment as a normal, acceptable and expected element of adolescent development “ This study illuminates the fact that and behavior and indicates that this social belief not all perpetrators are the same and needs to be challenged as an accepted adolescent each use different behaviors and tac- developmental norm or behavior tics based on their “goals.” An Empirical Investigation of Sexual This study illuminates the fact that not all Harassers: Toward a Perpetrator Typology perpetrators are the same and each have different Lucero, Margaret, A.; Middleton, Karen, L.; behavioral patterns and tactics used based Finch, Wendy, & Valentine, Sean, R. Human on their “goals.” Additionally, this study has Relations, Vol. 56(12) December, 2003, pgs. implications for managers in corporations and 1461-1483. agencies in that understanding the different types of perpetrators may assist in development Using 67 sexual harassment arbitration decisions, of better prevention and education programs. this study expands on current literature to determine sexual harassment perpetrator types over an extended period of time. All cases used involved discipline of an employee for 10 JANUARY | 2006
  11. 11. Presumed Innocence: Heterosexual, behavior was seen in boys who were considered Heterosexist and Homophobic Harassment lower down on the heterosexuality hierarchy and Among Primary School Girls and Boys often was motivated by the need to increase their Renold, Emma, Childhood, Vol. 9(4), 2002 pgs. social status. While much of the heterosexist 415-434. verbal and physical harassment was perpetrated by boys there were also several incidents of Studies on sexual harassment within school girls harassing boys, particularly toward those settings have traditionally been focused on who appeared more feminine or homosexual. teenagers in middle and high schools or Homophobic harassment (calling someone gay) on college campuses. This particular study was perpetrated against boys and girls who did however, focuses on the sexual harassment not appear invested in traditional and dominant experiences of pre-adolescents and examines the heterosexuality and who did not demonstrate harassment from a heterosexual, homophobic adherence to traditional feminine and masculine and heterosexist harassment construct carried roles. For boys, this occurred when they did not out by both boys and girls. The data used for this engage in overt heterosexual boyfriend-girlfriend study came from a larger ethnology study that relationships, or who did not participate in explored the construction of children’s gender traditional sports. and sexual identities. “ This study was an important “ Interestingly, this type of behavior one in that it demonstrated that was seen in boys who were consid- for those transgressing traditional ered lower down on the heterosexu- gender norms, physical, verbal, and ality hierarchy and often was moti- sexual harassment was used to assert vated by the need to increase their dominant heterosexism, dominant social status.” feminine and masculine roles and to claim homosexuality as abhorrent.” For the purposes of this study, sexual harassment was defined as “unwanted conduct of a sexual This study was an important one in that it nature. Using unstructured interviews of the demonstrated that for those transgressing youth over a year’s time period, several themes traditional gender norms, physical, verbal, and emerged.sexual harassment was used to assert dominant heterosexism, dominant feminine and masculine “ Homophobic harassment roles and to claim homosexuality as abhorrent. Because of the destructive nature of the sexual (calling someone gay) was harassment, schools need to develop more perpetrated against boys and girls consistent policies against sexual harassment and who did not appear invested in tradi- bullying and to better understand how children’s tional and dominant heterosexuality need to develop traditional gender roles directly and who did not demonstrate influences the nature of bullying and sexual harassment behaviors in pre-adolescents. adherence to traditional feminine and masculine roles.” Heterosexual harassment perpetrated by boys to girls commonly took the form of verbal insults that were sexually abusive and aggressive, calling them bitches, sluts, etc. Although not typically found in the literature for youth this age, incidents of physical sexual harassment was also observed. Interestingly, this type of RESEARCH & ADVOCACY DIGEST 11
  12. 12. The Multidimensional Nature of Sexual sexual derogation, 3) unwanted sexual attention, Harassment: An Empirical Analysis of 4) relational advances or requests, and 5) sexual Women’s Sexual Harassment Complaints coercion or quid pro quo. Welsh, Sandy, Violence Against Women, Vol. 6(2), February, 200, pgs. 118-141. The results indicated that unwanted sexual attention was the most common type of The purpose of this study was to determine harassment mentioned and occurred in 74% of the types of sexual harassment experiences of the complaints, with gender harassment being women in the workplace. Two general questions mentioned as the second most common form, were asked: 1) what types of harassment are comprising 46% of the complaints filed. Thirty- they experiencing, and 2) are they isolated two percent (32%) of the complaints described events or multidimensional incidents that sexual derogatory comments, while only 14% cause the complaints to be filed? Answering of the women mentioned sexual coercion or these questions on what motivates women to quid pro quo harassment as their motivation for file complaints can help inform policy and making complaints. Contrary to other findings, prevention strategies and future research about this study demonstrated that women who are sexual harassment. motivated to make complaints are not necessarily subjected to what is considered to be the most Analysis of the data was drawn from 296 sexual “ severe” or legal definitions of sexual harassment. harassment complaints filed by women with the Conversely, the majority of the complaints Canadian Human Rights Commission between involved either gender based harassment or the years 1978 and 1983. The complaints were sexualized touching and comments. read and coded from the investigator’s case files which contained records of the investigation “ Additionally, many of the harassing process, what occurred, type of harassment behaviors were not isolated events behavior involved, and how the case was and were considered to be multidi- resolved. mensional in nature as many of the women described a variety of harass- “ The results indicated that unwanted ing behaviors occurring simultane- sexual attention was the most ously which created the most signifi- common type of harassment men- cant reason for filing charges.” tioned and occurred in 74% of the complaints, with gender harassment Additionally, many of the harassing behaviors being mentioned as the second most were not isolated events and were considered to be multidimensional in nature as many of the common form, comprising 46% of women described a variety of harassing behaviors the complaints filed.” occurring simultaneously which created the most significant reason for filing charges. For Once coded, 15 types of sexual harassment example, some reported being groped while the behaviors emerged: gendered insults and harasser asked for sex. The author points out jokes, gendered derogatory remarks, personal that this supports prior research which indicates remarks, subtle pressures, sexual advances, that it is not the experience of one behavior alone sexual touching, sexual posturing and cornering, but the cumulative nature of the experience that subjective objectification, sexual materials, leads to filing sexual harassment complaints. graffiti or anonymous postings, relational advances, letters, phone calls, solicitation with promise, solicitation with threats and coerced sex. Once these 15 behaviors were identified, they were then categorized into 5 common sexual harassing behaviors - 1) gender harassment, 2) 12 JANUARY | 2006
  13. 13. Sexual Harassment Among Female Results indicated that 54% of the women Personnel in an Italian Hospital: Fresquency reported at least some kind of sexual harassment and Correlates by another employee or by a patient. Of those, Romitio, Patrizia, Ballard, Terri & Maton, 46% reported gender harassment, 29% reported Ncccoletta. Violence Against Women, Vol. 10(4), unwanted sexual attention and 3% reported April, 2004, pg. 366-417. sexual coercion. This particular study examines the incidence of “ Another interesting finding was that sexual harassment of female health professionals while patient harassers tended to be in Italy. Supporting literature reviews indicate less discriminate and harassed less that female hospital personnel are subject to sexual harassment at alarming rates by superiors, often, colleagues targeted women same-rank coworkers and by patients. The who possessed certain characteristics authors were also interested in understanding including, being separated, being the whether or not personal and social characteristics, sole breadwinner, having financial including domestic violence, were associated with workplace sexual harassment. The context problems and having a history of for this study is based on a feminist analysis domestic violence experiences.” that views sexual harassment from a patriarchal framework and postulates that sexual harassment In addition, the participants also reported is born out of culturally legitimate power and being harassed several times and by more status differences between men and women. than one perpetrator. Another interesting finding was that while patient harassers “ Results indicated that 54% of the tended to be less discriminate and harassed less often, colleagues targeted women who women reported at least some kind possessed certain characteristics including, being of sexual harassment by another separated, being the sole breadwinner, having employee or by a patient. Of those, financial problems and having a history of 46% reported gender harassment, domestic violence experiences. Thus, a history of domestic violence and strong financial worries 29% reported unwanted sexual was shown to be the two strongest risk factors attention and 3% reported sexual for sexual harassment. Furthermore, superiors coercion.” and same-rank coworkers tended to sexually harass more often than those in a subordinate To gather data, questionnaires were distributed to position. There was no evidence of subordinates every female employee in the hospital including harassing superiors which supports the notion doctors, nurses, secretaries, technicians and that sexual harassment is usually perpetrated by orderlies. To measure rates of sexual harassment, those in a power position. the authors administered a modified version of the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire and Sexual Harassment on the Internet participants were asked about a variety of Barak, Azy. Social Science Computer Review, Vol. sexually harassing behaviors including remarks, 23(1), Spring, 2005, pg. 77-92. touching, crude jokes, persistent propositions, threats for not participating, unwanted touch, The purpose of this article was to outline the etc. They were also asked to identify the characteristics of online sexual harassment, perpetrator and frequency of the occurrence. identify its similarities and differences to offline Furthermore, participants were asked to sexual harassment, discuss how technology and complete questions regarding their professional cyberspace supports this behavior and identify status, age, economic situation, shifts worked, some prevention strategies. The author first and whether they had received physical or sexual discusses the three most common forms of assault within the confines of a relationship. offline sexual harassment: gender harassment, RESEARCH & ADVOCACY DIGEST 13
  14. 14. unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion. law enforcement strategies make this form of While all three types of sexual harassment apply sexual harassment particularly easy to perpetrate to the internet, due to the obscure nature of with little recourse for the victims and with little cyberspace, gender harassment and unwanted ability to control it. Strategies for prevention sexual attention are the two of the most common include more consistent law enforcement and forms. legislation, working to change organizational and social norms supporting a culture of sexual Online gender harassment can be both active harassment and education and training for and passive. The active form specifically targets potential victims and harassers during offline a specific individual directly through the use of training sessions within organizations, agencies verbal and graphical sexual massages that are and schools. offensive and typically occurs in chat rooms and forums. Passive gender harassment occurs when the harasser sends graphic and verbal offensive messages to multiple recipients through the use of use of pop-ups, offensive nicknames, and pornographic pictures attached to emails, etc. as opposed to sending offensive messages to a particular person. Online unwanted sexual attention occurs through the use of direct communication between a harasser and victim by asking about the victim’s sex life, sexual organs, by soliciting offers for sexual activity, etc. Sexual coercion is often manifested similarly to offline sexual coercion and can take the form of breaking into a victim’s computer, cyberstalking, sending threatening or frightening emails, etc. “ The author also discusses how the nature of cyberspace and inherent characteristics of the internet reinforce this behavior, more specifically, how anonymity, diffi- culty in tracking the harasser, being able to disconnect at will, and in- consistent law enforcement strategies make this form of sexual harassment particularly easy to perpetrate with little recourse for the victims and with little ability to control it.” The author also discusses how the nature of cyberspace and inherent characteristics of the internet reinforce this behavior, more specifically, how anonymity, difficulty in tracking the harasser, being able to disconnect at will, and inconsistent 14 JANUARY | 2006
  15. 15. Did You Know That... In Fiscal Year 2004, EEOC received 13,136 charges of sexual harassment. 15.1% of those charges were filed by males. EEOC resolved 13,786 sexual harassment charges in FY 2003 and recovered $37.1 million in monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals (not including monetary benefits obtained through litigation). A 1999 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management states that 62% of companies offer sexual harassment prevention training programs, and 97% have a written sexual harassment policy. A telephone poll conducted by Louis Harris and Associates on 782 workers revealed: • 31% of the female workers claimed to have been harassed at work • 7% of the male workers claimed to have been harassed at work • 62% of targets took no action • 100% of women claimed the harasser was a man • 59% of men claimed the harasser was a woman • 41% of men claimed the harasser was another man Of the women who had been harassed: • 43% were harassed by a supervisor • 27% were harassed by an employee senior to them • 19% were harassed by a coworker at their level • 8% were harassed by a junior employee Sexual Harassment Statistics in Education: A survey conducted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) on 1632 students aged 8-11 revealed: • 85% of girls have been sexually harassed • 76% of boys have been sexually harassed • 31% of girls experienced harassment “often” • 18% of boys experienced harassment “often” • 13% of girls reported being “forced to do something sexual at school other than kissing” • 9% of boys reported being “forced to do something sexual at school other than kissing” • Girls were five times more likely to find the incidents disturbing and three times more likely to feel the harassment had affected their grades. • 25% of girls were harassed by school employees • 10% of boys were harassed by school employees A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association on female graduate students revealed: • 12.7% have experienced sexual harassment • 21% have avoided classes for fear of being sexually harassed • 11% have tried to report an incident of sexual harassment • 3% have dropped a course because of sexual harassment RESEARCH & ADVOCACY DIGEST 15
  16. 16. WCSAP Library Resources Curriculum/Videos Harassment in the Workplace: Employee Awareness A Policy Is Not Enough: Leading a Respectful Workplace No Excuses: Sexual Harassment Trainer’s Guide Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools Sexual Harassment Prevention: A Guide for School Leaders Books “ Bullying, Peer Harassment and Revictimization in the Schools: The Next Generation of Prevention” by Maurice Elias, Joseph Zins, Journal of Applied School Psychology, Vol. 19(2), 2003 “ Sexual Harassment on the Job: What It Is and How to Stop It” by Attorneys William Petrocelli & Barbara Kate Repo “ The Bullying Prevention Handbook: A Guide for Principals, Teachers and Counselors,” by John Hoover and Ronald Oliver Websites • Equal Opportunity Employment Commission or EEOC: WCSAP Non-Profit US Postage 2415 PACIFIC AVE. SE, PAID OLYMPIA, WA 98501 Olympia,WA 360.754.7583 Permit #282 360.709-0305 TTY WWW.WCSAP.ORG