Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual requests or advances for sexual favors either verbally or physically. Examples of sexual harassment may be by creating an unpleasant working or learning environment with some sexual overtones, establishing a pattern like unnecessary hugging or touching to humiliate the other person or such acts like making threats or reprisals towards another person (Heathfield). The aim of this essay is to cite different sexual articles involving men and women sexual harassment and check differences and similarities between sexual harassment in men and women.
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The POLITICOhas a story of a leading republican presidential contender who was involved in sexual harassment in the 1990s. Herman Cain who was a surprise leader in the race for republican presidency was accused several times during his campaign that he used to sexually harass his employees. It was reported that during Cain’s tenure as the president of National Restaurant Association during the 1990s, he acted in an “inappropriate behavior.” He was accused by at least two women who complained of being sexually abused by Cain, making them uncomfortable and angry. The paper reported further that Cain signed some secret agreements with the women making them leave employment after giving them some unspecified money (as a cover-up) for his misdeeds. It however said that the women received separation packages in five figure range, despite leaving the women not only offended but very upset (Martin, et al., 1).
Another sexual harassing article is by a Marie Claire, Voss Gretchen titled “women harassing men.” The article talks about a young man named Louis Oblea Jr. who was in his early 20s and was only into two months into a very promising job at First Mutual Corporation. The accused woman, Jackie Mesinger, started groping Louis and throwing sexual suggestion to their conversations. When Louis reported her to his boss, the boss only responded that she will leave that one day. The woman continued persuing him and started sending sexually suggestive materials to his email. His complaints were not taken seriously and he was threatened by the woman with an email reading, “You should rethink your position.” True to her threat, before Louis could adapt to his new job, he was fired and that is when he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He received a monetary settlement from his employer (Voss 1).
It is an interesting fact that men are also sexually harassed by women. A Yahoo! contributor Segers Michael reports that recent figures indicate that 16% of sexual harassments to the EEOC are by men. Apparently is seems most of these men are harassed in the work place, although this is not a clear picture of harassment of men and women. This is because the 16% comprises of sexual harassment to men by women and other men. The reporter however notes that very “few” cases of sexual harassments by women to men are reported. Statistics indicate that complaints about women harassing men have been on the increase in the past two decade. Sexual harassment by women may be a way of trying to showing men of their authority or working out their personal image while sexual harassment by men is an indication of trying to work out their own feelings against other fellow (women) employees (Segers).
One thing is clear from the above stories; sexual harassment seems to be rampant at the work place. In the first case, it is the CEO of the company sexually harassing fellow employees. The second case has a similar story of a senior employee sexually harassing her junior who is just new to the job. This is a violation of the fundamental rights of workers and an unacceptable working condition (Heathfield). Statistics indicate that although both men and women can be sexually harassed, women are more prone to this kind of treatment than are men. Sexual harassment may take place because a senior employee feels that he/she can easily get away with his/her behavior. In the above two cases, Herman paid the two women undisclosed sums of money and he did not have a case to answer or nothing to worry about while in the latter case, Louis was dismissed probably because he refused to be intimidated by Jackie. He was also a victim of being compensated (monetary value) when he reported the matter to the EEOC.
Heathfield indicates that managers have a role to play during these bizarre incidents. Managers as well as supervisors should demonstrate and take appropriate steps as any form of sexual harassment can be very horrific and succeed in creating a hostile environment to the victim. Interestingly in the above two cases, the supervisors or manages did not seem to be bothered by the sexual allegations. For Herman, he was the CEO and the one responsible for taking action against the offender but unfortunately he was the perpetrator. It is said that the women’s cases were discussed and they were paid some money to settle the case. In the second case too, Louis did report to the manager but unfortunately he was not assisted. The manager indicated that the perpetrator will leave harassing him sometime in the future. He was instead shown the door after s short stint at his workplace. This shows that respected and senior employees seem to get away with their heinous act and will use all means to stay relevant at their places of work. However, I feel that the law should be respected and left to take its course.