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Men may struggle to report sexual harassment at work

Most California employees have undergone sexual harassment seminars at their jobs and understand what behaviors are unacceptable in the workplace. While most awareness campaigns about workplace sexual harassment focus on women who experience it, men may also be targets of these behaviors. However, it may be more difficult for men to report sexual harassment due to a number of factors.

According to a CNBC poll, sexual harassment at work has happened to approximately one in five American adults. The report indicates that 10% percent of men reported being survivors of sexual harassment at work. While this number is lower than the 27% of women who said they experienced sexual harassment, it is not an insignificant statistic. In the survey, there were fewer men than women who believed their employers took sexual harassment complaints seriously.

A report from the Washington Post states that the percentage of sexual harassment complaints from men filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the last ten years has been fairly consistent at 17%. Statistics indicate that both men and women may be perpetrators of sexual harassment toward men.

Men who experience this sort of harassment often face attacks related to their rejection of cultural masculinity standards or their gender identity. According to the WP report, the EEOC believes that workplace sexual harassment gets underreported, with men being less likely to report it than women. Common reasons men avoid reporting harassment include fear of others refusing to believe them, ridiculing them, or retaliating against them. Some social norms may perpetuate the belief that men should be "strong" and unaffected by harassment. The results of recent cultural movements such as #MeToo may help men feel more comfortable reporting sexual harassment at work.

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