Essay on Sexual Harassment

500 words essay on sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment refers to any form of unwelcome sexual behaviour which is offensive, humiliating and intimidating. Further, it is against the law to sexually harass anyone. Over the years, sexual harassment has taken a lot of time to be recognized as a real issue. Nonetheless, it is a start that can protect people from this harassment. The essay on sexual harassment will take you through the details.

essay on sexual harassment

Sexual Harassment and Its Impacts

Sexual harassment comes in many forms and not just a single one. It includes when someone tries to touch, grab or make other physical contacts with you without your consent. Further, it also includes passing comments which have a sexual meaning.

After that, it is also when someone asks you for sexual favours. Leering and staring continuously also counts as one. You are being sexually harassed when the perpetrator displays rude and offensive material so that others can see it.

Another form is making sexual gestures towards you and cracking sexual jokes or comments towards you. It is also not acceptable for someone to question you about your sexual life or insult you with sexual comments.

Further, making an obscene phone call or indecently exposing oneself also counts as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can impact a person severely. It may stress out the victim and they may suffer from anxiety or depression.

Moreover, it can also cause them to withdraw from social situations. After that, the victim also starts to lose confidence and self-esteem. There may also be physical symptoms like headaches, sleep problems and being not able to concentrate or be productive.

What Can We Do

No one in this world deserves to go through sexual harassment, whether man or woman. We all have the right to live freely without being harassed, bullied or discriminated against. It is the reason why sexual harassment is illegal.

To begin with, the person may try talking to the offender and convey their message regarding their unwanted behaviour. Further, it is also essential to stay informed about this issue. Make sure to learn about the policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment in your workplace, school or university.

Further, try to document everything to help you remember the name of the offenders and the incidents. Similarly, make sure to save any evidence you get which will help with your complaint. For instance, keeping the text messages, emails, photos or more.

Most importantly, always try to get external information and advice from people who will help you if you decide to file a lawsuit. Likewise, never deal with it on your own and share it with someone you trust to lighten your load.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Conclusion of the Essay on Sexual Harassment

To conclude, sexual harassment is a very real issue that went unnoticed for a long period of time, but not anymore. It is essential for all of us to take measures to prevent it from happening as it damages the life of the victim severely. Thus, make sure you help out those who are suffering from sexual harassment and make the perpetrator accountable.

FAQ of Essay on Sexual Harassment

Question 1: What are the effects of sexual harassment?

Answer 1: Sexual harassment has major effects on the victim like suffering from significant psychological effects which include anxiety, depression , headaches, sleep disorders, lowered self-esteem, sexual dysfunction and more.

Question 2: How do you tell if someone is sexually harassing you?

Answer 2: It is essential to notice the signs if you feel someone is sexually harassing you. The most important sign is if you feel uncomfortable and experience any unwanted physical contact. If your ‘no’ does not have an impact and you’re being subjected to sexual jokes, you are being sexually harassed.

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National Academies Press: OpenBook

Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018)

Chapter: 7 findings, conclusions, and recommendations, 7 findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Preventing and effectively addressing sexual harassment of women in colleges and universities is a significant challenge, but we are optimistic that academic institutions can meet that challenge—if they demonstrate the will to do so. This is because the research shows what will work to prevent sexual harassment and why it will work. A systemwide change to the culture and climate in our nation’s colleges and universities can stop the pattern of harassing behavior from impacting the next generation of women entering science, engineering, and medicine.

Changing the current culture and climate requires addressing all forms of sexual harassment, not just the most egregious cases; moving beyond legal compliance; supporting targets when they come forward; improving transparency and accountability; diffusing the power structure between faculty and trainees; and revising organizational systems and structures to value diversity, inclusion, and respect. Leaders at every level within academia will be needed to initiate these changes and to establish and maintain the culture and norms. However, to succeed in making these changes, all members of our nation’s college campuses—students, faculty, staff, and administrators—will need to assume responsibility for promoting a civil and respectful environment. It is everyone’s responsibility to stop sexual harassment.

In this spirit of optimism, we offer the following compilation of the report’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations.


Chapter 2: sexual harassment research.

  • Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that consists of three types of harassing behavior: (1) gender harassment (verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender); (2) unwanted sexual attention (unwelcome verbal or physical sexual advances, which can include assault); and (3) sexual coercion (when favorable professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity). The distinctions between the types of harassment are important, particularly because many people do not realize that gender harassment is a form of sexual harassment.
  • Sexually harassing behavior can be either direct (targeted at an individual) or ambient (a general level of sexual harassment in an environment) and is harmful in both cases. It is considered illegal when it creates a hostile environment (gender harassment or unwanted sexual attention that is “severe or pervasive” enough to alter the conditions of employment, interfere with one’s work performance, or impede one’s ability to get an education) or when it is quid pro quo sexual harassment (when favorable professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity).
  • There are reliable scientific methods for determining the prevalence of sexual harassment. To measure the incidence of sexual harassment, surveys should follow the best practices that have emerged from the science of sexual harassment. This includes use of the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire, the most widely used and well-validated instrument available for measuring sexual harassment; assessment of specific behaviors without requiring the respondent to label the behaviors “sexual harassment”; focus on first-hand experience or observation of behavior (rather than rumor or hearsay); and focus on the recent past (1–2 years, to avoid problems of memory decay). Relying on the number of official reports of sexual harassment made to an organization is not an accurate method for determining the prevalence.
  • Some surveys underreport the incidence of sexual harassment because they have not followed standard and valid practices for survey research and sexual harassment research.
  • While properly conducted surveys are the best methods for estimating the prevalence of sexual harassment, other salient aspects of sexual harassment and its consequences can be examined using other research methods , such as behavioral laboratory experiments, interviews, case studies, ethnographies, and legal research. Such studies can provide information about the presence and nature of sexually harassing behavior in an organization, how it develops and continues (and influences the organizational climate), and how it attenuates or amplifies outcomes from sexual harassment.
  • Women experience sexual harassment more often than men do.
  • Gender harassment (e.g., behaviors that communicate that women do not belong or do not merit respect) is by far the most common type of sexual harassment. When an environment is pervaded by gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion become more likely to occur—in part because unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion are almost never experienced by women without simultaneously experiencing gender harassment.
  • Men are more likely than women to commit sexual harassment.
  • Coworkers and peers more often commit sexual harassment than do superiors.
  • Sexually harassing behaviors are not typically isolated incidents; rather, they are a series or pattern of sometimes escalating incidents and behaviors.
  • Women of color experience more harassment (sexual, racial/ethnic, or combination of the two) than white women, white men, and men of color do. Women of color often experience sexual harassment that includes racial harassment.
  • Sexual- and gender-minority people experience more sexual harassment than heterosexual women do.
  • The two characteristics of environments most associated with higher rates of sexual harassment are (a) male-dominated gender ratios and leadership and (b) an organizational climate that communicates tolerance of sexual harassment (e.g., leadership that fails to take complaints seriously, fails to sanction perpetrators, or fails to protect complainants from retaliation).
  • Organizational climate is, by far, the greatest predictor of the occurrence of sexual harassment, and ameliorating it can prevent people from sexually harassing others. A person more likely to engage in harassing behaviors is significantly less likely to do so in an environment that does not support harassing behaviors and/or has strong, clear, transparent consequences for these behaviors.

Chapter 3: Sexual Harassment in Academic Science, Engineering, and Medicine

  • Male-dominated environment , with men in positions of power and authority.
  • Organizational tolerance for sexually harassing behavior (e.g., failing to take complaints seriously, failing to sanction perpetrators, or failing to protect complainants from retaliation).
  • Hierarchical and dependent relationships between faculty and their trainees (e.g., students, postdoctoral fellows, residents).
  • Isolating environments (e.g., labs, field sites, and hospitals) in which faculty and trainees spend considerable time.
  • Greater than 50 percent of women faculty and staff and 20–50 percent of women students encounter or experience sexually harassing conduct in academia.
  • Women students in academic medicine experience more frequent gender harassment perpetrated by faculty/staff than women students in science and engineering.
  • Women students/trainees encounter or experience sexual harassment perpetrated by faculty/staff and also by other students/trainees.
  • Women faculty encounter or experience sexual harassment perpetrated by other faculty/staff and also by students/trainees.
  • Women students, trainees, and faculty in academic medical centers experience sexual harassment by patients and patients’ families in addition to the harassment they experience from colleagues and those in leadership positions.

Chapter 4: Outcomes of Sexual Harassment

  • When women experience sexual harassment in the workplace, the professional outcomes include declines in job satisfaction; withdrawal from their organization (i.e., distancing themselves from the work either physically or mentally without actually quitting, having thoughts or

intentions of leaving their job, and actually leaving their job); declines in organizational commitment (i.e., feeling disillusioned or angry with the organization); increases in job stress; and declines in productivity or performance.

  • When students experience sexual harassment, the educational outcomes include declines in motivation to attend class, greater truancy, dropping classes, paying less attention in class, receiving lower grades, changing advisors, changing majors, and transferring to another educational institution, or dropping out.
  • Gender harassment has adverse effects. Gender harassment that is severe or occurs frequently over a period of time can result in the same level of negative professional and psychological outcomes as isolated instances of sexual coercion. Gender harassment, often considered a “lesser,” more inconsequential form of sexual harassment, cannot be dismissed when present in an organization.
  • The greater the frequency, intensity, and duration of sexually harassing behaviors, the more women report symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety, and generally negative effects on psychological well-being.
  • The more women are sexually harassed in an environment, the more they think about leaving, and end up leaving as a result of the sexual harassment.
  • The more power a perpetrator has over the target, the greater the impacts and negative consequences experienced by the target.
  • For women of color, preliminary research shows that when the sexual harassment occurs simultaneously with other types of harassment (i.e., racial harassment), the experiences can have more severe consequences for them.
  • Sexual harassment has adverse effects that affect not only the targets of harassment but also bystanders, coworkers, workgroups, and entire organizations.
  • Women cope with sexual harassment in a variety of ways, most often by ignoring or appeasing the harasser and seeking social support.
  • The least common response for women is to formally report the sexually harassing experience. For many, this is due to an accurate perception that they may experience retaliation or other negative outcomes associated with their personal and professional lives.
  • The dependence on advisors and mentors for career advancement.
  • The system of meritocracy that does not account for the declines in productivity and morale as a result of sexual harassment.
  • The “macho” culture in some fields.
  • The informal communication network , in which rumors and accusations are spread within and across specialized programs and fields.
  • The cumulative effect of sexual harassment is significant damage to research integrity and a costly loss of talent in academic science, engineering, and medicine. Women faculty in science, engineering, and medicine who experience sexual harassment report three common professional outcomes: stepping down from leadership opportunities to avoid the perpetrator, leaving their institution, and leaving their field altogether.

Chapter 5: Existing Legal and Policy Mechanisms for Addressing Sexual Harassment

  • An overly legalistic approach to the problem of sexual harassment is likely to misjudge the true nature and scope of the problem. Sexual harassment law and policy development has focused narrowly on the sexualized and coercive forms of sexual harassment, not on the gender harassment type that research has identified as much more prevalent and at times equally harmful.
  • Much of the sexual harassment that women experience and that damages women and their careers in science, engineering, and medicine does not meet the legal criteria of illegal discrimination under current law.
  • Private entities, such as companies and private universities, are legally allowed to keep their internal policies and procedures—and their research on those policies and procedures—confidential, thereby limiting the research that can be done on effective policies for preventing and handling sexual harassment.
  • Various legal policies, and the interpretation of such policies, enable academic institutions to maintain secrecy and/or confidentiality regarding outcomes of sexual harassment investigations, arbitration, and settlement agreements. Colleagues may also hesitate to warn one another about sexual harassment concerns in the hiring or promotion context out of fear of legal repercussions (i.e., being sued for defamation and/or discrimination). This lack of transparency in the adjudication process within organizations can cover up sexual harassment perpetrated by repeat or serial harassers. This creates additional barriers to researchers

and others studying harassment claims and outcomes, and is also a barrier to determining the effectiveness of policies and procedures.

  • Title IX, Title VII, and case law reflect the inaccurate assumption that a target of sexual harassment will promptly report the harassment without worrying about retaliation. Effectively addressing sexual harassment through the law, institutional policies or procedures, or cultural change requires taking into account that targets of sexual harassment are unlikely to report harassment and often face retaliation for reporting (despite this being illegal).
  • Fears of legal liability may prevent institutions from being willing to effectively evaluate training for its measurable impact on reducing harassment. Educating employees via sexual harassment training is commonly implemented as a central component of demonstrating to courts that institutions have “exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior.” However, research has not demonstrated that such training prevents sexual harassment. Thus, if institutions evaluated their training programs, they would likely find them to be ineffective, which, in turn, could raise fears within institutions of their risk for liability because they would then knowingly not be exercising reasonable care.
  • Holding individuals and institutions responsible for sexual harassment and demonstrating that sexual harassment is a serious issue requires U.S. federal funding agencies to be aware when principal investigators, co-principal investigators, and grant personnel have violated sexual harassment policies. It is unclear whether and how federal agencies will take action beyond the requirements of Title IX and Title VII to ensure that federal grants, composed of taxpayers’ dollars, are not supporting research, academic institutions, or programs in which sexual harassment is ongoing and not being addressed. Federal science agencies usually indicate (e.g., in requests for proposals or other announcements) that they have a “no-tolerance” policy for sexual harassment. In general, federal agencies rely on the grantee institutions to investigate and follow through on Title IX violations. By not assessing and addressing the role of institutions and professional organizations in enabling individual sexual harassers, federal agencies may be perpetuating the problem of sexual harassment.
  • To address the effect sexual harassment has on the integrity of research, parts of the federal government and several professional societies are beginning to focus more broadly on policies about research integrity and on codes of ethics rather than on the narrow definition of research misconduct. A powerful incentive for change may be missed if sexual harassment is not considered equally important as research misconduct, in terms of its effect on the integrity of research.

Chapter 6: Changing the Culture and Climate in Higher Education

  • A systemwide change to the culture and climate in higher education is required to prevent and effectively address all three forms of sexual harassment. Despite significant attention in recent years, there is no evidence to suggest that current policies, procedures, and approaches have resulted in a significant reduction in sexual harassment. It is time to consider approaches that address the systems, cultures, and climates that enable sexual harassment to perpetuate.
  • Strong and effective leaders at all levels in the organization are required to make the systemwide changes to climate and culture in higher education. The leadership of the organization—at every level—plays a significant role in establishing and maintaining an organization’s culture and norms. However, leaders in academic institutions rarely have leadership training to thoughtfully address culture and climate issues, and the leadership training that exists is often of poor quality.
  • Evidence-based, effective intervention strategies are available for enhancing gender diversity in hiring practices.
  • Focusing evaluation and reward structures on cooperation and collegiality rather than solely on individual-level teaching and research performance metrics could have a significant impact on improving the environment in academia.
  • Evidence-based, effective intervention strategies are available for raising levels of interpersonal civility and respect in workgroups and teams.
  • An organization that is committed to improving organizational climate must address issues of bias in academia. Training to reduce personal bias can cause larger-scale changes in departmental behaviors in an academic setting.
  • Skills-based training that centers on bystander intervention promotes a culture of support, not one of silence. By calling out negative behaviors on the spot, all members of an academic community are helping to create a culture where abusive behavior is seen as an aberration, not as the norm.
  • Reducing hierarchical power structures and diffusing power more broadly among faculty and trainees can reduce the risk of sexual ha

rassment. Departments and institutions could take the following approaches for diffusing power:

  • Make use of egalitarian leadership styles that recognize that people at all levels of experience and expertise have important insights to offer.
  • Adopt mentoring networks or committee-based advising that allows for a diversity of potential pathways for advice, funding, support, and informal reporting of harassment.
  • Develop ways the research funding can be provided to the trainee rather than just the principal investigator.
  • Take on the responsibility for preserving the potential work of the research team and trainees by redistributing the funding if a principal investigator cannot continue the work because he/she has created a climate that fosters sexual harassment and guaranteeing funding to trainees if the institution or a funder pulls funding from the principal investigator because of sexual harassment.
  • Orienting students, trainees, faculty, and staff, at all levels, to the academic institution’s culture and its policies and procedures for handling sexual harassment can be an important piece of establishing a climate that demonstrates sexual harassment is not tolerated and targets will be supported.
  • Institutions could build systems of response that empower targets by providing alternative and less formal means of accessing support services, recording information, and reporting incidents without fear of retaliation.
  • Supporting student targets also includes helping them to manage their education and training over the long term.
  • Confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements isolate sexual harassment targets by limiting their ability to speak with others about their experiences and can serve to shield perpetrators who have harassed people repeatedly.
  • Key components of clear anti-harassment policies are that they are quickly and easily digested (i.e., using one-page flyers or infographics and not in legally dense language) and that they clearly state that people will be held accountable for violating the policy.
  • A range of progressive/escalating disciplinary consequences (such as counseling, changes in work responsibilities, reductions in pay/benefits, and suspension or dismissal) that corresponds to the severity and frequency of the misconduct has the potential of correcting behavior before it escalates and without significantly disrupting an academic program.
  • In an effort to change behavior and improve the climate, it may also be appropriate for institutions to undertake some rehabilitation-focused measures, even though these may not be sanctions per se.
  • For the people in an institution to understand that the institution does not tolerate sexual harassment, it must show that it does investigate and then hold perpetrators accountable in a reasonable timeframe. Institutions can anonymize the basic information and provide regular reports that convey how many reports are being investigated and what the outcomes are from the investigation.
  • An approach for improving transparency and demonstrating that the institution takes sexual harassment seriously is to encourage internal review of its policies, procedures, and interventions for addressing sexual harassment, and to have interactive dialogues with members of their campus community (especially expert researchers on these topics) around ways to improve the culture and climate and change behavior.
  • Cater training to specific populations; in academia this would include students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, faculty, and those in leadership.
  • Attend to the institutional motivation for training , which can impact the effectiveness of the training; for instance, compliance-based approaches have limited positive impact.
  • Conduct training using live qualified trainers and offer trainees specific examples of inappropriate conduct. We note that a great deal of sexual harassment training today is offered via an online mini-course or the viewing of a short video.
  • Describe standards of behavior clearly and accessibly (e.g., avoiding legal and technical terms).
  • To the extent that the training literature provides broad guidelines for creating impactful training that can change climate and behavior, they include the following:
  • Establish standards of behavior rather than solely seek to influence attitudes and beliefs. Clear communication of behavioral expectations, and teaching of behavioral skills, is essential.
  • Conduct training in adherence to best standards , including appropriate pre-training needs assessment and evaluation of its effectiveness.
  • Creating a climate that prevents sexual harassment requires measuring the climate in relation to sexual harassment, diversity, and respect, and assessing progress in reducing sexual harassment.
  • Efforts to incentivize systemwide changes, such as Athena SWAN, 1 are crucial to motivating organizations and departments within organizations to make the necessary changes.
  • Enacting new codes of conduct and new rules related specifically to conference attendance.
  • Including sexual harassment in codes of ethics and investigating reports of sexual harassment. (This is a new responsibility for professional societies, and these organizations are considering how to take into consideration the law, home institutions, due process, and careful reporting when dealing with reports of sexual harassment.)
  • Requiring members to acknowledge, in writing, the professional society’s rules and codes of conduct relating to sexual harassment during conference registration and during membership sign-up and renewal.
  • Supporting and designing programs that prevent harassment and provide skills to intervene when someone is being harassed.
  • Strengthening statements on sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination in professional societies’ codes of conduct, with a few defining it as research misconduct.
  • Factoring in harassment-related professional misconduct into scientific award decisions.
  • Professional societies have the potential to be powerful drivers of change through their capacity to help educate, train, codify, and reinforce cultural expectations for their respective scientific, engineering, and medical communities. Some professional societies have taken action to prevent and respond to sexual harassment among their membership. Although each professional society has taken a slightly different approach to addressing sexual harassment, there are some shared approaches, including the following:


1 Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network). See .

  • There are many promising approaches to changing the culture and climate in academia; however, further research assessing the effects and values of the following approaches is needed to identify best practices:
  • Policies, procedures, trainings, and interventions, specifically how they prevent and stop sexually harassing behavior, alter perception of organizational tolerance for sexually harassing behavior, and reduce the negative consequences from reporting the incidents. This includes informal and formal reporting mechanisms, bystander intervention training, academic leadership training, sexual harassment training, interventions to improve civility, mandatory reporting requirements, and approaches to supporting and improving communication with the target.
  • Mechanisms for target-led resolution options and mechanisms by which the target has a role in deciding what happens to the perpetrator, including restorative justice practices.
  • Mechanisms for protecting targets from retaliation.
  • Rehabilitation-focused measures for disciplining perpetrators.
  • Incentive systems for encouraging leaders in higher education to address the issues of sexual harassment on campus.


RECOMMENDATION 1: Create diverse, inclusive, and respectful environments.

  • Academic institutions and their leaders should take explicit steps to achieve greater gender and racial equity in hiring and promotions, and thus improve the representation of women at every level.
  • Academic institutions and their leaders should take steps to foster greater cooperation, respectful work behavior, and professionalism at the faculty, staff, and student/trainee levels, and should evaluate faculty and staff on these criteria in hiring and promotion.
  • Academic institutions should combine anti-harassment efforts with civility-promotion programs.
  • Academic institutions should cater their training to specific populations (in academia these should include students/trainees, staff, faculty, and those in leadership) and should follow best practices in designing training programs. Training should be viewed as the means of providing the skills needed by all members of the academic community, each of whom has a role to play in building a positive organizational climate focused on safety and respect, and not simply as a method of ensuring compliance with laws.
  • Academic institutions should utilize training approaches that develop skills among participants to interrupt and intervene when inappropriate behavior occurs. These training programs should be evaluated to deter

mine whether they are effective and what aspects of the training are most important to changing culture.

  • Anti–sexual harassment training programs should focus on changing behavior, not on changing beliefs. Programs should focus on clearly communicating behavioral expectations, specifying consequences for failing to meet these expectations, and identifying the mechanisms to be utilized when these expectations are not met. Training programs should not be based on the avoidance of legal liability.

RECOMMENDATION 2: Address the most common form of sexual harassment: gender harassment.

Leaders in academic institutions and research and training sites should pay increased attention to and enact policies that cover gender harassment as a means of addressing the most common form of sexual harassment and of preventing other types of sexually harassing behavior.

RECOMMENDATION 3: Move beyond legal compliance to address culture and climate.

Academic institutions, research and training sites, and federal agencies should move beyond interventions or policies that represent basic legal compliance and that rely solely on formal reports made by targets. Sexual harassment needs to be addressed as a significant culture and climate issue that requires institutional leaders to engage with and listen to students and other campus community members.

RECOMMENDATION 4: Improve transparency and accountability.

  • Academic institutions need to develop—and readily share—clear, accessible, and consistent policies on sexual harassment and standards of behavior. They should include a range of clearly stated, appropriate, and escalating disciplinary consequences for perpetrators found to have violated sexual harassment policy and/or law. The disciplinary actions taken should correspond to the severity and frequency of the harassment. The disciplinary actions should not be something that is often considered a benefit for faculty, such as a reduction in teaching load or time away from campus service responsibilities. Decisions regarding disciplinary actions, if indicated or required, should be made in a fair and timely way following an investigative process that is fair to all sides. 2
  • Academic institutions should be as transparent as possible about how they are handling reports of sexual harassment. This requires balancing issues of confidentiality with issues of transparency. Annual reports,

2 Further detail on processes and guidance for how to fairly and appropriately investigate and adjudicate these issues are not provided because they are complex issues that were beyond the scope of this study.

that provide information on (1) how many and what type of policy violations have been reported (both informally and formally), (2) how many reports are currently under investigation, and (3) how many have been adjudicated, along with general descriptions of any disciplinary actions taken, should be shared with the entire academic community: students, trainees, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and funders. At the very least, the results of the investigation and any disciplinary action should be shared with the target(s) and/or the person(s) who reported the behavior.

  • Academic institutions should be accountable for the climate within their organization. In particular, they should utilize climate surveys to further investigate and address systemic sexual harassment, particularly when surveys indicate specific schools or facilities have high rates of harassment or chronically fail to reduce rates of sexual harassment.
  • Academic institutions should consider sexual harassment equally important as research misconduct in terms of its effect on the integrity of research. They should increase collaboration among offices that oversee the integrity of research (i.e., those that cover ethics, research misconduct, diversity, and harassment issues); centralize resources, information, and expertise; provide more resources for handling complaints and working with targets; and implement sanctions on researchers found guilty of sexual harassment.

RECOMMENDATION 5: Diffuse the hierarchical and dependent relationship between trainees and faculty.

Academic institutions should consider power-diffusion mechanisms (i.e., mentoring networks or committee-based advising and departmental funding rather than funding only from a principal investigator) to reduce the risk of sexual harassment.

RECOMMENDATION 6: Provide support for the target.

Academic institutions should convey that reporting sexual harassment is an honorable and courageous action. Regardless of a target filing a formal report, academic institutions should provide means of accessing support services (social services, health care, legal, career/professional). They should provide alternative and less formal means of recording information about the experience and reporting the experience if the target is not comfortable filing a formal report. Academic institutions should develop approaches to prevent the target from experiencing or fearing retaliation in academic settings.

RECOMMENDATION 7: Strive for strong and diverse leadership.

  • College and university presidents, provosts, deans, department chairs, and program directors must make the reduction and prevention of sexual

harassment an explicit goal of their tenure. They should publicly state that the reduction and prevention of sexual harassment will be among their highest priorities, and they should engage students, faculty, and staff (and, where appropriate, the local community) in their efforts.

  • Academic institutions should support and facilitate leaders at every level (university, school/college, department, lab) in developing skills in leadership, conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation, and de-escalation, and should ensure a clear understanding of policies and procedures for handling sexual harassment issues. Additionally, these skills development programs should be customized to each level of leadership.
  • Leadership training programs for those in academia should include training on how to recognize and handle sexual harassment issues, and how to take explicit steps to create a culture and climate to reduce and prevent sexual harassment—and not just protect the institution against liability.

RECOMMENDATION 8: Measure progress.

Academic institutions should work with researchers to evaluate and assess their efforts to create a more diverse, inclusive, and respectful environment, and to create effective policies, procedures, and training programs. They should not rely on formal reports by targets for an understanding of sexual harassment on their campus.

  • When organizations study sexual harassment, they should follow the valid methodologies established by social science research on sexual harassment and should consult subject-matter experts. Surveys that attempt to ascertain the prevalence and types of harassment experienced by individuals should adopt the following practices: ensure confidentiality, use validated behavioral instruments such as the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire, and avoid specifically using the term “sexual harassment” in any survey or questionnaire.
  • Academic institutions should also conduct more wide-ranging assessments using measures in addition to campus climate surveys, for example, ethnography, focus groups, and exit interviews. These methods are especially important in smaller organizational units where surveys, which require more participants to yield meaningful data, might not be useful.
  • Organizations studying sexual harassment in their environments should take into consideration the particular experiences of people of color and sexual- and gender-minority people, and they should utilize methods that allow them to disaggregate their data by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity to reveal the different experiences across populations.
  • The results of climate surveys should be shared publicly to encourage transparency and accountability and to demonstrate to the campus community that the institution takes the issue seriously. One option would be for academic institutions to collaborate in developing a central repository for reporting their climate data, which could also improve the ability for research to be conducted on the effectiveness of institutional approaches.
  • Federal agencies and foundations should commit resources to develop a tool similar to ARC3, the Administrator-Researcher Campus Climate Collaborative, to understand and track the climate for faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows.

RECOMMENDATION 9: Incentivize change.

  • Academic institutions should work to apply for awards from the emerging STEM Equity Achievement (SEA Change) program. 3 Federal agencies and private foundations should encourage and support academic institutions working to achieve SEA Change awards.
  • Accreditation bodies should consider efforts to create diverse, inclusive, and respectful environments when evaluating institutions or departments.
  • Federal agencies should incentivize efforts to reduce sexual harassment in academia by requiring evaluations of the research environment, funding research and evaluation of training for students and faculty (including bystander intervention), supporting the development and evaluation of leadership training for faculty, and funding research on effective policies and procedures.

RECOMMENDATION 10: Encourage involvement of professional societies and other organizations.

  • Professional societies should accelerate their efforts to be viewed as organizations that are helping to create culture changes that reduce or prevent the occurrence of sexual harassment. They should provide support and guidance for members who have been targets of sexual harassment. They should use their influence to address sexual harassment in the scientific, medical, and engineering communities they represent and promote a professional culture of civility and respect. The efforts of the American Geophysical Union are especially exemplary and should be considered as a model for other professional societies to follow.
  • Other organizations that facilitate the research and training of people in science, engineering, and medicine, such as collaborative field sites (i.e., national labs and observatories), should establish standards of behavior

3 See .

and set policies, procedures, and practices similar to those recommended for academic institutions and following the examples of professional societies. They should hold people accountable for their behaviors while at their facility regardless of the person’s institutional affiliation (just as some professional societies are doing).

RECOMMENDATION 11: Initiate legislative action.

State legislatures and Congress should consider new and additional legislation with the following goals:

  • Better protecting sexual harassment claimants from retaliation.
  • Prohibiting confidentiality in settlement agreements that currently enable harassers to move to another institution and conceal past adjudications.
  • Banning mandatory arbitration clauses for discrimination claims.
  • Allowing lawsuits to be filed against alleged harassers directly (instead of or in addition to their academic employers).
  • Requiring institutions receiving federal funds to publicly disclose results from campus climate surveys and/or the number of sexual harassment reports made to campuses.
  • Requesting the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health devote research funds to doing a follow-up analysis on the topic of sexual harassment in science, engineering, and medicine in 3 to 5 years to determine (1) whether research has shown that the prevalence of sexual harassment has decreased, (2) whether progress has been made on implementing these recommendations, and (3) where to focus future efforts.

RECOMMENDATION 12: Address the failures to meaningfully enforce Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination.

  • Judges, academic institutions (including faculty, staff, and leaders in academia), and administrative agencies should rely on scientific evidence about the behavior of targets and perpetrators of sexual harassment when assessing both institutional compliance with the law and the merits of individual claims.
  • Federal judges should take into account demonstrated effectiveness of anti-harassment policies and practices such as trainings, and not just their existence , for use of an affirmative defense against a sexual harassment claim under Title VII.

RECOMMENDATION 13: Increase federal agency action and collaboration.

Federal agencies should do the following:

  • Increase support for research and evaluation of the effectiveness of policies, procedures, and training on sexual harassment.
  • Attend to sexual harassment with at least the same level of attention and resources as devoted to research misconduct. They should increase collaboration among offices that oversee the integrity of research (i.e., those that cover ethics, research misconduct, diversity, and harassment issues); centralize resources, information, and expertise; provide more resources for handling complaints and working with targets; and implement sanctions on researchers found guilty of sexual harassment.
  • Require institutions to report to federal agencies when individuals on grants have been found to have violated sexual harassment policies or have been put on administrative leave related to sexual harassment, as the National Science Foundation has proposed doing. Agencies should also hold accountable the perpetrator and the institution by using a range of disciplinary actions that limit the negative effects on other grant personnel who were either the target of the harassing behavior or innocent bystanders.
  • Reward and incentivize colleges and universities for implementing policies, programs, and strategies that research shows are most likely to and are succeeding in reducing and preventing sexual harassment.

RECOMMENDATION 14: Conduct necessary research.

Funders should support the following research:

  • The sexual harassment experiences of women in underrepresented and/or vulnerable groups, including women of color, disabled women, immigrant women, sexual- and gender-minority women, postdoctoral trainees, and others.
  • Policies, procedures, trainings, and interventions, specifically their ability to prevent and stop sexually harassing behavior, to alter perception of organizational tolerance for sexually harassing behavior, and to reduce the negative consequences from reporting the incidents. This should include research on informal and formal reporting mechanisms, bystander intervention training, academic leadership training, sexual harassment and diversity training, interventions to improve civility, mandatory reporting requirements, and approaches to supporting and improving communication with the target.
  • Approaches for mitigating the negative impacts and outcomes that targets experience.
  • The prevalence and nature of sexual harassment within specific fields in

science, engineering, and medicine and that follows good practices for sexual harassment surveys.

  • The prevalence and nature of sexual harassment perpetrated by students on faculty.
  • The amount of sexual harassment that serial harassers are responsible for.
  • The prevalence and effect of ambient harassment in the academic setting.
  • The connections between consensual relationships and sexual harassment.
  • Psychological characteristics that increase the risk of perpetrating different forms of sexually harassing behaviors.

RECOMMENDATION 15: Make the entire academic community responsible for reducing and preventing sexual harassment.

All members of our nation’s college campuses—students, trainees, faculty, staff, and administrators—as well as members of research and training sites should assume responsibility for promoting civil and respectful education, training, and work environments, and stepping up and confronting those whose behaviors and actions create sexually harassing environments.

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Over the last few decades, research, activity, and funding has been devoted to improving the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine. In recent years the diversity of those participating in these fields, particularly the participation of women, has improved and there are significantly more women entering careers and studying science, engineering, and medicine than ever before. However, as women increasingly enter these fields they face biases and barriers and it is not surprising that sexual harassment is one of these barriers.

Over thirty years the incidence of sexual harassment in different industries has held steady, yet now more women are in the workforce and in academia, and in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine (as students and faculty) and so more women are experiencing sexual harassment as they work and learn. Over the last several years, revelations of the sexual harassment experienced by women in the workplace and in academic settings have raised urgent questions about the specific impact of this discriminatory behavior on women and the extent to which it is limiting their careers.

Sexual Harassment of Women explores the influence of sexual harassment in academia on the career advancement of women in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce. This report reviews the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine are victimized by sexual harassment and examines the existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers. It also identifies and analyzes the policies, strategies and practices that have been the most successful in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in these settings.


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  • Sexual Assault

A Letter to the Men Who Are "Afraid" of How to Act at Work in the #MeToo Era

sexual harassment personal essay

In recent days, I've heard men ask, "What's acceptable workplace behavior anymore?" and "Who knows what will be reported as sexual harassment these days?" In the era of #MeToo, these questions are being tackled in very public ways — most notably, in a Washington Post article titled "Lunches, Hugs, and Break-Room Banter: Where Are the New Boundaries at Work?"

The theme of that article, which I've seen men share, is that workplace interactions are now entering uncharted territory given the explosion of allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior from men in a number of industries. The culture described is one in which many men are afraid and many HR departments are walking on eggshells, uncertain of when and why employees might be called out for sexual harassment.

One Silicon Valley executive received advice from his HR manager to "stop having dinners with female employees," and one lobbyist decided to fly by himself from Texas to Washington because he's "not willing to risk" taking a business trip alone with a female colleague — even though, to quote, "He recognizes that his decision to fly alone is a lost opportunity for his talented young co-worker." Another example in the article is an investor who says his "colleagues have canceled their one-on-one meetings with female entrepreneurs."

To those people, I say: To dumb down the dynamics of the current cultural shift is to miss the entire point of this conversation and to demean the authenticity of real complaints and allegations.

To dumb down the dynamics of the current cultural shift is to miss the entire point of this conversation and to demean the authenticity of real allegations.

To offer a solution of "stop having dinners and one-on-one meetings with women altogether" is to succumb to a level of immaturity that's almost embarrassing. If you don't know how to have casual dinner chat or talk about statistics in a meeting without feeling like you might say something sexually inappropriate or that could possibly be misconstrued as crossing a line, that's on you. Just have a normal meeting.

If you're a man and you've decided to go solo on a work trip, even though your female colleague did much of the work, because you're not "willing to risk" something happening: did you forget how to behave like a professional? Don't ask her to accompany you to your hotel room, just get the work done, and you'll be good to go. To assume that a woman will report you for sexual assault before any encounter has even happened says more about you than it does about her. If you complain about a hypersensitivity in the workplace and the intentions of the #MeToo movement going too far but you're the one creating that hypersensitivity — remember, you decided to go solo, not her — that doesn't do anyone any favors.

As we proceed through this cultural shift, we want you to listen when we claim something happens — to not brush aside our genuine allegations. We don't, however, want you to unfairly assume an allegation will occur before we've even interacted with one another. To decline the hard-working woman the opportunity just because "you're not willing to take the risk" and to shift the blame onto her only reiterates the need for Time's Up in the first place.

You're on a consensual hugging level with a longtime coworker? Great, keep hugging.

If the group of male firefighters in the aforementioned article think they need to "think twice about who else is present when the jokes fly," fine; that's not very difficult. You're on a consensual hugging level with a longtime coworker? Great, keep hugging. You decide to go with a congratulatory handshake instead of a hug when you're not sure if you're on a hugging level with a particular colleague? Great, that's probably what you've done your entire professional career. The "woe is me" mentality in this new era is childish and unnecessary.

To say that "every man is afraid" is absurdly hyperbolic. Women are not asking men to stop opening doors for them. We're not asking for men to stop saying, "Hi, how's the case coming?" in the break room. Those things have always been and will continue to be OK. We're asking men to stop putting their hands where they aren't invited to put them. We're asking men to stop shouting lewd catcalls and then act mad when we look disgusted. We're asking men not to have a Matt Lauer-style button that locks the door beneath your desk without you having to get up. We're asking men to pause on the advances if it is CLEAR we are uncomfortable.

To say that "every man is afraid" is absurdly hyperbolic.

Are you unsure if you're about to do the right thing? Just ask. Have the meeting, but skip the knee rub. This is basic stuff. Use your social skills. Act professional.

There is a difference between increased awareness of personal behavior and acting confused and clueless around women at work. If you feel like you're on the verge of coming off as creepy, you probably are, and that should be enough to make you think through what you're about to do. But if you're one of the "good guys" and you sense nothing wrong with the way you're acting and with the way your actions are being perceived, then you have nothing to worry about. Men should not insult their own intelligence by not being able to recognize the distinction.

The difference between inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace five, 10, 20 years ago and now is simply that more people are finally listening when people complain about it — not that it's suddenly happening out of the blue, and not that everyday occurrences such as lunch outings now need to be put under a microscope. To misinterpret the motive of #MeToo by turning the movement into something it's not is to stifle the big-picture progress even more.

Hold the elevator open if a woman — or any person, for that matter — is running to catch it. You won't get reported to HR for that.

A woman who would very much like to go on the work trip with you if we worked on the project together

  • Office Culture
  • Personal Essay
  • Sexual Misconduct

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Consequences and Perceived Self-Efficacy in Women and Men Witnesses and Non-Witnesses

Daniela acquadro maran.

1 Department of Psychology, Università di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy

Antonella Varetto

2 Clinical Psychology Unit, Città della Scienze e della Salute, Corso Bramante 88, 10126 Torino, Italy

Cristina Civilotti

Associated data.

The datasets generated for this study are available on request to the corresponding author.

Despite the numerous advances made in Italy over the years in the study of sexual harassment in the workplace (SHW), research has focused exclusively on victims, perpetrators, and their relationships, and not on the consequences that the experience of sexual harassment can produce in witnesses. The present study aims to address this gap by examining how the indirect experience of SHW, in conjunction with variables such as gender, age, self-efficacy, and coping strategies, affects the mental health status of witnesses of SHW. A sample of 724 employees completed a questionnaire that included a modified version of the Sexual Experience Questionnaire (SEQ), the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), and the Emotional Self-Efficacy Scale (RESE). Of the group, 321 participants reported witnessing sexual harassment in the workplace (28.2% of women and 16.2% of men). Results show that witnesses were younger than participants who described themselves as non-witnesses. Results also show that women and men who were witnesses were more likely to suffer the emotional and psychological consequences of the experience than non-witnesses. In addition, female witnesses expressed more positive emotions than men, which enabled them to manage their anxiety and emotional states when triggered in response to sexual harassment in the workplace. Finally, a significant association was found between perceptions of mental health and age, gender, experience with SHW, and self-efficacy strategies. The findings underscore the importance of sexual harassment intervention in the workplace, women and men who witness sexual harassment suffer vicarious experiences, psychological impact, exhaustion, disengagement, and negative feelings.

1. Introduction

Sexual harassment in the workplace (hereafter SHW) has been officially recognized since the 1970s as a form of violence to be prevented, and several studies have been conducted on it since then (see, e.g., [ 1 , 2 ]). Fitzgerald et al. [ 3 ] define this phenomenon as unsolicited and unwanted sexual behavior that is perceived by the victim as humiliating, offensive, and disabling in terms of their own safety and psychophysical well-being. The International Labor Organization (ILO) describes SHW as a series of repeated, unsolicited, non-reciprocal, and fully imposed harassments by the perpetrator that can have serious undesirable effects on the person [ 4 ]. SHW may include acts such as groping, intrusive looks, comments, and/or jokes about the victim’s body/clothing/uterus, use of sexually explicit language or innuendo about the victim’s private life, comments about sexual orientation, or even sexual/erotic contact and viewing of pornographic audio/video material. Chappell and Di Martino [ 5 ] provide the same definition in their study and also point out that perpetrators often hold more prestigious positions or have more power in the workplace than victims. For this reason, victims may be afraid to fight back or file formal complaints.

Direct experiences of SHW can be very disabling for both the individual and the organization. Research has shown that bullying can threaten physical, psychological, and occupational well-being [ 6 ]. In a summary of studies conducted by the European Commission in Northern European countries, it was found that in 7 of the 75 studies reviewed, more than half of the respondents suffered from negative consequences on general health and well-being [ 7 ]. The effects reported by victims included psychosomatic symptoms such as muscle pain and problems of a physical and psychological nature. The most recurrent emotions are anxiety, anger, stress, humiliation, loss of confidence, personal and professional dissatisfaction, and, above all, a deterioration in interpersonal relationships, especially with colleagues. As far as physical symptoms are concerned, those affected mainly report gastrointestinal problems, headaches, insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite, and weight loss [ 8 ]. As for mental health, the most serious problems are depressive disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder [ 9 ]. The suffering of people in relation to work also leads to deterioration from an organizational point of view. Phenomena such as absenteeism, turnover intentions, and job dissatisfaction can affect organizational performance [ 10 ]. Individuals also often experience deterioration in their work performance [ 11 ]. Organizational culture also suffers, SHW creates a stressful environment in which victims experience important effects such as loss of trust, confidence, and sense of justice toward the organization and its leadership, a reality in which workers ultimately conclude that they count for nothing to the organization [ 12 ].

1.1. Consequences of SHW in Witnesses

SHW has been discussed for decades in the scientific literature and in sociopolitical organizations, and there are numerous studies addressing this aspect to guide experimental research, dissemination, and prevention campaigns in the face of increasing and broader awareness by organizations and stakeholders. Unfortunately, the impact of SHW affects not only the direct victims, but also the witnesses of SHW who live in a climate characterized by these dysfunctional behaviors. As early as the late 1990s, Fitzgerald and her colleagues analyzed the potential consequences of SHW, emphasizing that perceptions of such phenomena can lead to deterioration in the physical health of both direct and indirect victims [ 2 , 13 , 14 ]. These studies suggest that perceptions of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and other forms of organizational mistreatment can affect women’s and men’s well-being, even if they are not directly affected by SHW.

Some gender differences have been identified in research. Kobrynowicz and Brans-combe [ 15 ] indicated that men’s perceptions of SHW are associated with high levels of assertiveness and low self-esteem. Richman et al. [ 16 ] found that men’s and women’s perceptions of SHW resulted in diametrically opposite psychological states. In men, SHW was associated with worsening mental health. Schmitt et al. [ 17 ] examined the possible consequences of this perception and found that it was both physically and psychologically harmful for women, whereas it had no significant effects for men. One possible explanation suggested by the authors is that women are more likely to be victims of SHW than in other areas. This would lead to more attention being paid to this phenomenon. The study by Harnois and Bastos [ 18 ] investigated the phenomenon of SHW and its consequences in men and women. The results showed that the perception of SHW in women was associated with negative effects on the psycho-physical health of the participants. This supports the concept that the perception of SHW can be theorized as a social stressor [ 19 ]. Perceptions of the presence of SHW were positively associated with negative effects on physical and emotional well-being in both genders. In line with Siuta and Bergman [ 20 ] and Hansen, Garde, and Persson [ 21 ], it seems appropriate to refer to experiences of sexual harassment as stressors, also in light of the definition of Kahn and Byosiere [ 22 ], who define work stressors as stimuli generated at work that have negative physical or psychological consequences for a significant proportion of individuals exposed to them [ 23 ]. These stimuli may characterize a work environment that can be understood as discretionary, in which the stimuli are transmitted differently from individual to individual, or they may permeate the entire work group and thus be potentially available to all members of the group. According to the authors, this also applies to the phenomenon of SHW, which can act either directly at the individual level on the victim—as a discretionary stimulus—or indirectly at the group level on the members—as an environmental stimulus—which would have similar negative effects. Also, in the study presented by Bowling and Beehr [ 24 ], workplace bullying is clearly negatively associated with victim well-being, supporting the hypothesis that bullying is a workplace stressor that has effects similar to other workplace stressors such as SHW. Takaki, Taniguchi, and Hirokawa [ 25 ] examined the association between SHW and physical consequences, many of which were found to be significant. The authors analyzed data from questionnaires sent to employees (N = 1642) of 35 health care facilities in Japan. The results suggest that stress responses due to SHW could affect health through direct biological effects, prolonged physiological activation, and lack of repair or by affecting lifestyle and health-related behaviors. As suggested by Mathews et al. [ 26 ], exposure to these types of stressors could lead to burnout. In their study, 38% of 129 participants reported experiencing at least one SHW episode in their careers.

1.2. SHW and Perceived Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is a construct introduced by Bandura [ 27 ] that represents one of the core mechanisms of personal agency. Self-efficacy is a person’s belief that he or she is capable of organizing and performing the actions necessary to cope with future situations. It is an expression of a person’s self-regulatory abilities and influences the way he or she regulates his or her behavior, thoughts, and affect, as well as the decisions he or she makes and the efforts and persistence he or she undertakes [ 28 , 29 , 30 ]. According to Bandura, people can successfully achieve their goals in difficult situations if they believe they can perform the required actions [ 29 ]. Overall, self-efficacy has been shown to protect against negative psychological factors such as stress and burnout [ 31 ]. In general, higher levels of self-efficacy have been shown to positively impact various workplace outcomes by influencing the way individuals interpret their environment. Self-efficacy has been associated with more effective coping with workplace stressors, leading to greater job satisfaction and lower intention to quit [ 32 ]. According to Bandura [ 29 ], individuals with high self-efficacy are more able to cope with workplace stressors and therefore less likely to avoid frustrating situations by quitting. Self-efficacy appears to have five main effects on behavior. It influences the choices an individual makes based on belief in success or failure; it mobilizes the individual to try harder to succeed; it provides perseverance in the face of obstacles and negative outcomes; it facilitates thought patterns that tell the individual he or she can accomplish the task; and it reduces stress and depression associated with fear of future failure [ 33 ]. Self-efficacy appears to play a central role in SHW; research has found that witnesses with high levels of self-efficacy were more likely to actively help or defend their peers, whereas witnesses with lower levels of self-efficacy were more likely to be passive [ 34 , 35 ]. In the study by Hellemans et al. [ 36 ], witnesses with low self-efficacy had a greater fear of intervening. This finding is important because it shows the influence of a witness’s personal resources on his or her (non)intervention in the context of SHW.

1.3. Current Study

In Italy, the National Institute of Statistics [ 37 ] estimates that 8,816,000 women (43.6% of the population) between the ages of 14 and 65 have been sexually harassed in some way during their lifetime, and that 3,118,000 women (15.4%) have been victims of sexual harassment in the last three years. Looking only at the types of sexual harassment also found in the 2008–2009 survey, the estimate of women sexually harassed in the three years prior to the survey increased from 3,778,000 (18.7%) in 2008–2009 to 2,578,000 (12.8%) in 2015–2016. For the first time, sexual harassment was also found among men; an estimated 3,754,000 men were harassed in their lifetime (18.8%), 1,274,000 in the last three years (6.4%). The severity of the harassment suffered varies greatly by gender, with 76.4% of women considering it very or fairly bad, compared to 47.2% of men. In addition, an estimated 1,404,000 (8.9%) women were victims of SHW; 425,000 (2.7%) in the last three years. The vast majority of victims (69.6%) consider the incident to be very or fairly serious. However, in 80.9% of cases, victims did not talk about it with anyone at work. Failure to report victimization experiences to colleagues and supervisors is due to the fear of being perceived as incompetent, inefficient, or inadequately prepared to deal with behaviors that may be considered part of the work environment [ 38 ].

In this context, it is important to note that, in 2021, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), an autonomous agency at the European level, published a gender equality index for the 28 countries of the European Union, based on six areas (work, money, knowledge, time, power, and health). The report shows that Italy has improved significantly in terms of gender equality, but is still below the European average [ 39 ]. Apart from this consideration, and despite the numerous advances made in Italy over the years in the study of the phenomenon of sexual harassment, to our knowledge, research has mainly focused on the victims, the perpetrators, and their relationships (e.g., [ 40 , 41 , 42 ]), and not on the consequences that the experience of sexual harassment can cause in the witnesses. The present study aims to fill this gap in the Italian scientific landscape. The aim of this study was to analyze the consequences of SHW episodes in self-defined witnesses and the perceived self-efficacy that could influence the intention to intervene [ 34 , 35 , 36 ]. To better understand the experience of being a witness and the role of gender, a comparison was made between male and female witnesses and non-witnesses.

The literature suggests that the consequences are the result of a specific stressor. Therefore, perceived mental health, life satisfaction, and burnout were analyzed, as has been done in other studies around the world with primary victims of SHW (e.g., [ 43 , 44 , 45 ]). In addition, to assess attitudes toward the intervention, self-efficacy was assessed in terms of the ability to express negative and positive feelings related to SHW episodes. In this context, behaviors characteristic of the experience of SHW were assessed to measure consequences and attitudes toward the intervention.

The overall goal of the study was to examine how the experience of SHW, in conjunction with variables such as gender, age, and coping strategies, affects witnesses’ mental health. To better describe the phenomenon, the following hypotheses were also formulated based on the literature review described below, such as gender differences.

  • (1) Women who witnessed SHW were more likely to suffer the emotional and psychological consequences of the experience than men and female non-witnesses.
  • (2) Women who witnessed SHW had more difficulty managing their stress than men and female non-witnesses.
  • (3) Women who witnessed SHW were more inclined to express negative emotions and less inclined to express positive emotions than men and female non-witnesses.

2. Materials and Methods

Participants were asked to anonymously complete a self-administered questionnaire. The first part described the purpose of the questionnaire and included instructions for answering it (including the contact details of the authors of this paper for any doubts or problems), as well as the informed consent form and the declaration of anonymity and privacy. In addition, following the study of Fitzgerald et al. [ 46 ], the following description of SHW was given, “Sexual harassment was defined as any unwelcome sexual conduct or other form of discrimination based on sex that violates the dignity of men and women in the learning and working environment, including physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct. Examples of sexual harassment include (a) implicit or explicit solicitation of offensive or unwanted sexual services; (b) display of pornographic material in the workplace, including in electronic form; (c) use of sexist criteria in any type of interpersonal relationship; (d) implicit or explicit promises of facilities and privileges or professional advancement in return for sexual services; (e) threats or retaliation for refusing sexual services; (f) unwanted and inappropriate physical contact; (g) verbal comments about the body or comments about sexuality or sexual orientation that are perceived as offensive”. The second part of the questionnaire included a request to indicate whether participants had ever witnessed SHW (response = yes/no). The third part of the questionnaire included scales on emotional and psychological consequences, perception of the phenomenon, and coping with the suffering. The last part of the questionnaire included sociodemographic data (e.g., gender, age).

To assess the experiences of witnesses of SHW, the Sexual Experience Questionnaire was used (SEQ, [ 3 ]). SEQ is the most widely used and validated measure of sexual harassment [ 47 , 48 ] and asks participants to indicate, on a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (often), how often they have been the target of sexually harassing behavior within the past year. Examples used in this survey include “During the past 12 months, have you been in a situation where any of your supervisors or coworkers … Made sexist remarks to you”. Higher scores indicate more SH victimization. For the purposes of this study, the third-person questions were reformulated in third person: “During the past 12 months, have you been in a situation where any of your supervisors or co-workers … Made sexist remarks to your colleague or other employee or client…”. This scale was only considered for participants who answered “yes” to the question of whether they witnessed SHW. In this study, items from SEQ were aggregated (see [ 23 , 48 ]) (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.94).

The Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI; [ 49 ]) is an instrument for assessing burnout and work engagement. It contains both positively (e.g., “I find my work a positive challenge” or “After work, I have enough energy for my leisure activities”) and negatively (e.g., “During my work, I often feel emotionally drained” or “Over time, one can become disconnected from this type of work”) worded items. This allows the two main dimensions of burnout to be measured; exhaustion, as the result of excessive physical, emotional, and cognitive effort associated with the long-term consequences of the particular demands of a given job, and disengagement (from work, understood as turning away from it in general, from the object of the work, and from its content). These aspects concern the relationship between workers and their work, especially identification with the job and willingness to stay in the same job. The instrument consists of 16 items with a Likert scale ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.85).

The General Health Questionnaire, 12-item version (GHQ-12; [ 50 ]; Italian version by Picardi et al. [ 51 ]), as described by Shevlin and Adamson [ 52 ], belongs to a family of questionnaires for respondents’ self-assessment of psychiatric disorders in community and clinical contexts, as well as for the assessment of disorders of normal functioning and the presence of stress symptoms. The original version consists of 60 items, whereas the version presented in the present study is a follow-up version consisting of exactly 12 items. The items are asked in the form of questions (e.g., “In the past two weeks, have you felt able to concentrate on what you are doing?”) and include a response scale with three response options (from as usual to much less than usual) (Cronbach alpha = 0.81).

The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS; [ 53 ]) was used to assess satisfaction with one’s life in general in relation to a general cognitive process. The instrument consists of five statements about specific general aspects of life (e.g., “The conditions of my life are excellent”), which were rated on a Likert scale from 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree. (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.87).

The Regulatory Emotional Self-Efficacy Scale (RESE; [ 54 ]) is an instrument designed to assess perceived self-efficacy in coping with negative affect and expressing positive affect. The theoretical basis of this instrument lies in the concept that self-efficacy beliefs are dynamic rather than static factors that can be enhanced by coping experiences as a result of the individual’s ability to self-reflect and learn from experiences [ 29 ]. In terms of self-efficacy in dealing with positive and negative emotions, the authors refer to the belief that one is able to cope with stress and emotional states (e.g., joy, anger) when they are triggered in response to adverse events. This self-assessment scale includes 12 items (e.g., “Express joy when something good things happen to you?” or “Avoid getting upset when others give you a hard time?”), which are assessed in two subscales: POS (4 items) and NEG (8 items). The NEG subscale also consists of the anger–irritation (ANG 4, items) and dejection–stress (DES, 4 items) subscales (Cronbach alpha = 0.86).

For the scales for which no Italian version was available, they were translated from British English and then back-translated [ 55 ]. The translation was done by the authors and two research assistants to agree on a final version.

2.1. Procedure

The research project was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Turin (Prot. N. 456048/2018). The organizations were contacted with a request for a questionnaire about SHW. The criterion for inclusion was that they were public and private labor organizations in Northern Italy. The exclusion criterion was whether they were voluntary associations or non-profit foundations. A letter of invitation was sent to the heads of the organizations with which we were in contact based on previous work. We asked them to provide us names of people they had already been in contact with. A month after the contacts began, we sent out about thirty letters of invitation. Seven organizations responded positively to the invitation. The other organizations declined or did not respond for various reasons (e.g., lack of time for the project or organizational changes). The organizations that expressed interest received a detailed explanation of the research project. Along with the questionnaires, several ballot boxes were delivered to all sites where employees could have kept their completed questionnaires—given the heterogeneous distribution of employees, the ballot boxes were placed primarily at the organizations’ headquarters, two for each floor and a single ballot box for the other sites. The employees were informed about the research topic, the modalities of voluntary and anonymous participation, and the corresponding deadlines for placing the questionnaires in the corresponding ballot boxes. All participants were informed that their participation was voluntary, that they could leave the interview at any time, and that their responses would remain anonymous. In addition, participants were informed that they could avoid answering if the question worried them, and that if they had negative feelings, they could contact free services offering psychological support. The study was conducted in accordance with Italian privacy regulations. Two weeks were initially allocated for the completion of the questionnaires, which were then extended by a further ten days until the final collection of the questionnaires (information about the schedule and the research topic was also clearly highlighted on the ballots themselves to avoid any ambiguity).

2.2. Participants

The questionnaire was distributed in seven different organizations, five of which were private (four companies involved in the production and/or management of goods and services for users and one from the social care sector) and two public (one from the administrative sector and the second from the public health sector). It should be noted that some of the participating organizations were easily identified by the participants of the research due to the number of employees and the type of activity. Therefore, to ensure the anonymity of the participants and the participating organizations, the activities of the organizations were categorized as public/private without providing further information. The estimated total number of potential participants in the study is approximately 1500 individuals, of which 733 employees completed the questionnaires and 724 were considered valid (nine participants did not answer the gender question).

The majority of participants worked in a company with more than 200 employees (37.4%), 21.7% had between 16 and 50 employees, 20.2% between 1 and 15, 12.6% between 51 and 100, and 6.4% in a company with 101 to 200 employees. The majority of participants were employed in a private organization (58.2%), with the remainder employed in a public organization. Overall, 58.4% of the sample were women, 59.1% were single, 36.3% were married, and 4.3% were separated/divorced. Two participants were widowed. Participants were on average 38.75 years old (range 19–65, SD = 13.13). They had work experience ranging from a few months to 44 years (M = 17.41, SD = 12.83), 58.1% had a permanent employment contract, and 44.7% had a college degree.

2.3. Statistical Analysis

The data were processed with SPSS version 28 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). To assess the significance of differences between witnesses and non-witnesses, χ 2 tests were used. The Cramer’s V value was calculated to estimate the effect size. As a post hoc test, standardized Pearson residuals (SPRs) were calculated for each cell to determine which cell differences contributed to the results of the χ 2 test. SPRs whose absolute values were greater than 1.96 indicated that the number of cases in that cell was significantly greater than expected (in terms of over-representation) if the null hypothesis was true, with a significance level of 0.05 [ 56 ]. The data were also analyzed using t-test to examine the experience of SHW in witnesses. ANOVA to measure differences between women and men witnesses and non-witnesses. Eta squared was calculated to estimate the effect size. Differences were considered statistically significant when p < 0.05. Finally, a multiple regression analysis was used to understand whether perceived mental health can be predicted based on gender, age, SHW, and self-efficacy.

A total of 321 participants reported being witnesses to SHW (28.2% women and 16.2% men). Among non-witnesses, 30.2% were women and 25.4% were men (see Table 1 ). On average, female witnesses to SHW were 37.17 years old (range 19–65, SD = 13.21), male witnesses were 36.78 years old (range 20–62, SD = 11.70), while women non-witnesses of SHW were 41.42 years old (range 19–65, SD = 13.34) and men non-witnesses were 38.57 years old (range 21–65, SD = 13.22) (F = 6.87, p = 0.002, η2 = 0.092). Regarding years of work experience, female witnesses of SHW had 16.90 years of work experience (range 1–40, SD = 12.63), male witnesses had 17.10 years (range 1–43, SD = 12.39), while female non-witnesses of SHW were 19.14 years old (range 0–41, SD = 12.54) and male non-witnesses were 16.07 years old (range 0–44, SD = 13.50) (F = 1.21, p = 0.170, η2 = 0.089). Regarding SHW experience, women reported more dysfunctional behaviors than men (M = 26.33, SD = 9.47 and M = 24.47, SD = 11.00, respectively; t = 2.27, p = 0.024, Cohen’s d = 0.176).

Characteristic of the participants (N = 724). Values expressed in column percentage.

Note. χ 2 = Chi-square value; p = p value; V = Cramer’s V value; * = Cells with overrepresentation of subjects.

As shown in Table 1 , single men and married/cohabiting woman are the two categories that report significantly fewer SHW experiences. Women working in the public sector and in organizations with 51 to 100 and 101 to 200 employees, respectively, are more likely to witness SHW, while men in the public sector and in organizations with more than 200 employees report more dysfunctional behaviors.

In Table 2 , there is the distribution of response in women and men witnesses and non-witnesses of SHW. Findings indicated that men witnesses were more prone than others to express disengagement, negative feelings such as anger, and dejection–stress. Women witnesses were more prone than others to express positive feelings.

Perceived mental health, life satisfaction, burnout, and self-efficacy; comparison between witnesses and non-witnesses of SHW (one-way ANOVA) (N = 724).

Note. F = Fischer’s value; p = p value; η2 = Eta squared.

Correlation analysis showed that when participants (women and men) witnessed SHW, life satisfaction decreased (r = −0.12, p = 0.029). Finally, multiple regression was performed to predict perceived mental health based on gender, age, SHW, and self-efficacy. Linearity was assessed using partial regression plots and a plot of student residuals against predicted values. Independence of the residuals was assessed with a Durbin–Watson value of 1.922. Homoscedasticity was assessed by visual inspection of a plot of student-specific residuals against the non-standardized predicted values, and there was no evidence of multilinearity assessed by tolerance values greater than 0.1. The normality assumption was met, as determined from a Q–Q plot. The multiple regression model statistically significantly predicted perceived mental health, F(6, 690) = 5.266, p < 0.001, adj. R 2 = 0.13, albeit with a modest effect size. All six variables contributed statistically significantly to prediction, p < 0.05. Regression coefficients and standard errors are found in Table 3 .

Multiple regression results for perceived mental health.

Note. Model = “Enter” method in SPSS statistics; B = unstandardized regression coefficient; CI = confidence interval; LL = lower limit; UL = upper limit; SE B = standard error of the coefficient; β = standardized coefficients; R 2 = coefficient of determination; Δ R 2 = adjusted R 2 . ** p < 0.01. The gender variable is calculated as female vs. male.

4. Discussion

Overall, the results of this study show that perceptions of mental health were significantly predicted by the variables of age, sex, exposure to SHW, and self-efficacy strategies. The effect size was modest because some of the complexity of the phenomenon-which includes psychological, group, organizational, and social aspects was likely not fully accounted for in the modeling. Nonetheless, this is a very important finding because it shows how the phenomenon of SHW affects not only the direct victim but also those who experience it indirectly. This finding is consistent with previous recent studies that, albeit using different methodologies, show that SHW is one of the risk factors at all levels of investigation, from the psychological impact on the individual to the consequences for organizational climate and the welfare parameters of society as a whole [ 57 , 58 , 59 ].

Witnesses to SHW were younger than participants who identified as non-witnesses. While Powell [ 60 ] found that age did not affect how women perceived sexual harassment, Reilly, Lott, and Gallogly [ 61 ] found that younger individuals were more likely to tolerate sexual harassment than older individuals. Ford and Donis [ 62 ] found that younger women were least likely to tolerate sexual harassment, while younger men were most likely to tolerate sexual harassment. The authors found that tolerance of sexual harassment increases with age in women up to age 50, but decreases thereafter. For men, however, they found the opposite age effect, i.e., tolerance of sexual harassment decreased up to age 50, but acceptance increased thereafter. Foulis and McCabe [ 63 ] also found that age did not correlate with Australian workers’ perceptions of sexual harassment. In our study, the results confirmed Padavic and Orcutt’s [ 64 ] study that younger workers take the phenomenon of sexual harassment more seriously than older workers (see also [ 65 ]).

Our results also confirm the Hypothesis 1: women and men who witnessed sexual harassment were more likely to suffer the emotional and psychological consequences of the experience than non-witnesses, confirming the Hypothesis 1 of this study. However, male witnesses suffered more than women by distancing themselves and expressing negative emotions such as anger and dejection–stress. These results did not confirm Hypothesis 2 (which stated that women who witnessed SHW had more difficulty managing their stress than men and female non-witnesses) and are consistent with Richman–Hirsch and Glomb [ 66 ]. Nevertheless, this result is very interesting. Traditionally, studies have focused on female victims of SHW, sociodemographic characteristics, organizational and male-dominance culture, consequences, etc. [ 5 ] Fewer studies have been conducted with men, focusing on analysis of their experiences and consequences as witnesses of SHW. The results of the Fourth European Working Conditions Survey, based on 30,000 face-to-face interviews with workers in 31 European countries, show that 2% of all workers are exposed to sexual harassment at work [ 67 ]. This means that colleagues, supervisors, and others have contributed to the misconduct. According to Hansen, Garde, and Persson [ 21 ], while SH can be understood as a unique discretionary stimulus when experienced directly by a target, it can also manifest as an environmental stimulus that permeates the work context and becomes something that everyone is exposed to in their environment. As mentioned earlier, SHW can lead to a generally stressful work environment that affects employees other than those directly affected by the misconduct [ 23 ]. Raver and Gelfand [ 68 ] also showed that the effects of SHW extend to group-level outcomes by demonstrating the detrimental effects on team conflict and cohesion. In addition, Berdahl, Magley, and Waldo [ 69 ] found that while both genders believe that sexual coercion, unwanted sexual attention, and lewd comments are a form of SHW, men also clearly indicate that punishment for deviating from the masculine gender role (i.e., being harassed as “not masculine enough” [ 70 ]) is sexually harassing [ 38 ]. Studies show that the men most at risk are those who do not appear sufficiently masculine [ 14 ]. Thus, even when men feel anger when they perceive that a member of their own group (and thus potentially themselves) is being harassed, they do not intervene (e.g., [ 6 ]). This non-intervention seems to be related to the need to maintain a sense of identification with the gender group; the cost to self might be perceived as a risk [ 71 ]. Otherwise, the result could be a sense of powerlessness, driven by the need to intervene to protect the members of the group and their identification with the group. Over time, these feelings can cause suffering, with consequences such as psychological discomfort, exhaustion, and burnout [ 72 ].

In addition, women who witnessed SHW expressed more positive emotions than men, which enabled them to manage their anxiety and emotional states when triggered in response to SHW events. Thus, Hypothesis 3, which stated that women who witnessed SHW were more inclined to express negative emotions and less inclined to express positive emotions than men and female non-witnesses, could not be confirmed. This result may be related to the findings of the study by Veletsianos et al. [ 73 ]. The authors found that women use different coping strategies to deal with harassment. One of these is resistance, a term we have used to describe women’s refusal to accept harassment or to remain silent or passive. Resistance is a reactive coping strategy, and strategies in this domain included persistent attempts to talk, persistence in general, asserting one’s voice and authority, turning to the community, and using self-protective measures. As Hashmi et al. [ 74 ] point out, thanks to the #MeToo campaign, SHW problems and their coping strategies are increasingly seen as structural problems and not just individual-level problems. The witnesses in our study may have been exposed to the “New Deal” for SHW, which influenced how they dealt with the phenomenon [ 75 ]. In 2016, prior to the #MeToo momentum, Johnson et al. [ 76 ] surveyed 250 professional women in the US about the prevalence of SHW and the impact on their work; they also interviewed 31 women in the US about their individual experiences. After #MeToo, they conducted a second survey of 263 women in September 2018 and reconnected with some of the previously surveyed women to find out if they had noticed any changes or changed their views. The results show the benefits of #MeToo in reducing sexual harassment over two years; women said the movement helped them realize they were not alone in their experiences.

4.1. Implications and Application Scenarios of the Study

The results of this study demonstrate the importance of intervening in SHW episodes. Women and men who witness suffer from their vicarious experiences, negative mental health, exhaustion, alienation, and negative feelings. Preventive measures and interventions are needed in the organization. Changing the organizational climate and context that fosters SHW is critical to reducing the phenomenon. Establishing clear zero-tolerance policies and procedures is part of changing the normative environment that fosters SHW. Organizations that proactively develop, disseminate, and enforce policies and procedures on violence against women have the lowest incident rates [ 77 ]. In addition, programs that promote witness intervention are important for reducing SHW [ 78 ]. Witnesses can potentially confront and stop harassers, report incidents, and support victims [ 79 , 80 ]. Many victims respond passively because they perceive the risk of reporting the incident to be too high; they may rely on others to act on their behalf [ 81 ]. By communicating norms that address harassment, witnesses could play a role in changing the group, organizational, and cultural context that supports SHW [ 82 ]. Identifying PWD is not enough to motivate intervention; witnesses must take responsibility for their actions [ 79 ]. However, multiple witnesses may lead witnesses to assume that their help is not needed and make them feel less responsible (diffusion of responsibility [ 83 ]). Witnesses may also attribute responsibility for their intervention to the victim’s colleagues or other members of the group [ 84 ]. It might be useful to promote values characteristic of both genders to activate responsibility for intervening. For men, this responsibility could be consistent with masculine roles such as honor and protection [ 85 ]. For women, it might be consistent with self-protection and resistance as individual and collective strategies for coping with an environment that might tolerate SHW. Companies could help witnesses stop workplace misconduct. For example, training could be provided to address lack of confidence in one’s own abilities by focusing on specific behaviors that witnesses can use to effectively intervene. Bowes-Sperry and O’Leary-Kelley [ 79 ] offered a typology of behaviors that might be useful for such training. The typology classifies possible witness actions along two dimensions, immediacy (immediate action vs. subsequent action) and involvement (direct involvement vs. indirect involvement). For example, episodes with high immediacy and involvement require the witness to take an active and recognizable action, such as asking the harasser to stop. In contrast, behaviors with low immediacy and involvement occur when bystanders later support the victim, for example, by privately encouraging the victim to report the incident. Training could take into account the phenomenon of audience inhibition, which is the concern witnesses have about what others will think of them if they act [ 83 ]. Male witnesses, for example, might believe that their intervention (to protect the victim or prevent the perpetrator) will result in a loss of social status if norms of loyalty to members of their own group stand in the way of intervention. Increasing empathy and the importance of personal norms that support intervention may override perceived social norms that contribute to audience inhibition. When an intervention requires that an aggressive member of one’s group be stopped, witnesses may be persuaded to intervene by portraying the actions of aggressors in one’s group as violating group norms and damaging the group’s reputation [ 84 , 85 , 86 , 87 ]. Finally, as suggested by Lee et al. [ 72 ], it is also important to include in a training program the opportunity to break down stereotypes and myths about SHW to increase the likelihood that witnesses will intervene in high-risk situations. Further research could examine the effectiveness of including witness training in SHW prevention programs. Studies could compare the effectiveness of training for witnesses and non-witnesses with SHW. This could contribute to a better understanding of readiness to intervene and what types of programs increase that readiness.

4.2. Limitations of the Study and Future Research Directions

As far as we know, this is the first study conducted in Italy on the phenomenon of SHW in relation to witnesses and non-witnesses. The strength of the project lies in its innovative character, but it is important to consider some limitations that hopefully can be overcome in future studies. First, this was a cross-sectional study. An adequate, but non-random, sample was used for this study. We recognize that the participants in this study may not represent the general population of Italian workers. Willingness to participate in a survey about SHW may be influenced by organizational policies regarding the phenomenon, organizational climate, and previously adopted prevention and intervention strategies. For organizations, the decision to promote or not to promote this survey could imply a particular sensitivity to the phenomenon. A further study could analyze the relationship between the organization’s prevention strategy and the perception of the phenomenon by the organization’s employees. In addition, there could be a bias in participation. Participants might tend to answer a questionnaire in a way that conveys a positive image of themselves or of the organization they belong to (socially desirable responding; [ 88 ]). This could mean that participants did not identify themselves as victims and perpetrators; they could describe the phenomenon as witnesses but with greater involvement. Further research could consider the combined use of questionnaires and interviews to better understand the phenomenon and its meaning in an organizational context. Another limitation is that we included participants from different organizations. Therefore, it was not possible to identify specific patterns or episodes of SHW. It might be useful to examine an episode in a particular context using a different method. For example, the mixed method could be useful to describe SHW from different perspectives [ 89 ]. In addition, we did not consider the possible relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, their gender, and their sexual orientation. Therefore, further research needs to consider factors such as the perceived severity of the experience, the impact of multiple minority statuses and intersectional oppression on SHW [ 20 ], and the organizational values and norms that promote workplace misconduct. Because the nature of the relationship and gender are important predictors of intervention intent [ 90 ], it may be interesting to analyze perceptions of the phenomenon in relation to gender in the victim–offender dyad. Future research could use the vignette method to analyze how gender and the nature of the victim–offender relationship influences the intention to intervene in SHW. Finally, it is important to anchor this study in the specific Italian sociocultural context, which may differ from that of other countries [ 39 ]. Therefore, this study may not be transferable to other sociocultural contexts.

5. Conclusions

In summary, this study has shown that in addressing the serious problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, attention must be focused not only on the direct victims, but also on those who witness it, because they themselves may develop forms of discomfort and because sexual harassment contributes to creating a negative climate for the individual and for the organization itself. Although this is a cross-sectional study without randomization, it clearly shows the need for timely and appropriate intervention in the sociocultural context in which the organization is anchored. In the Italian context, for example, phenomena such as sexism, gender stereotypes, and a tolerance of sexual harassment that is not accepted in other countries still seem to be present [ 39 ]. If nothing is done in this regard, either preventively or to curb the phenomenon, there is a risk that harassment will continue in a self-reinforcing cycle. In terms of change and active transformation, it seems crucial to sensitize the widest possible audience of men and women and to promote knowledge and awareness of the problems of hostile and benevolent sexism, homophobia, patriarchal views, and gender stereotypes that still exist in our society. Therefore, it is important and essential that the principles of gender equality and respect for others are taught in all workplaces through appropriate and timely training, prevention, and monitoring.


The authors wish to thank all the participants in this investigation.

Funding Statement

This research received no external funding.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, D.A.M. and A.V.; formal analysis, D.A.M. and C.C.; writing—original draft preparation, D.A.M.; writing—review and editing, D.A.M., C.C. and A.V.; supervision, D.A.M. and A.V.; project administration, D.A.M. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Turin (prot. N. 456048/2018).

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

Conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Home — Essay Samples — Social Issues — Gender Equality — Sexual Harassment And Gender Equality


Sexual Harassment and Gender Equality

  • Categories: Gender Equality Gender Inequality Sexual Abuse

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Published: Feb 8, 2022

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Table of contents

Introduction, sexual harassment, impact of sexual harassment , tools to deter sexual harassment, the culture of sexual harassment.

  • Hulin, Charles L., Fitzgerald, Louise F. & Drasgow, Fritz. Organizational Influences on Sexual Harassment. (Chapter 7)
  • Stockdale, Margaret S. (Ed.) (1996) Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. Thousand Oakes, California: Sage Publications, Inc. Especially
  • Thomas R. Roosevelt, Jr. (1991) Beyond Race and Gender: Unleashing the Power of YourTotal Work Force by Managing Diversity. New York: ACACOM.

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, Essay Example

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Sexual harassment has been a hot topic for years. Corporations all over the world have been forced to deal with sexual harassment legal challenges. Crain & Heischmidt (1995) mention that after the case of Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court nominee, the number of women coming out to file a complaint about sexual harassment increased significantly. Indeed, in the next nine months, the number of cases increased by 150 percent (Crain & Heischmidt, 1995). Sexual harassment is defined by the Federal Register (1980) as any form of sexual advance, physical or verbal conduct of sexual nature. While sexual harassment is illegal in most countries, it also has ethical implications. Employers need to put effective measures in place that prevent sexual harassment from happening, and make reporting easy, anonymous, and safe. The below paper will focus on government and corporate guidelines for preventing and identifying sexual harrassment.

Sexual Harassment in Context

Significance of the Issue

According to Dromm (2012), “sexual harassment is a real issue with real consequences. What some people in the workplace think brings comfort, actually brings fear and problems with self-esteem” (Dromm, 2012). Sexual harassment in the workplace is a very critical issue and affects men and women alike.

A recent publication by Stop Violence Agaisnt Women (2010) states that “It is believed that at least one-third of women in the United States experience some form of sexual harassment”. This indicates that the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace is significantly greater than the number of reported cases would suggest.

Ramsarop & Parumasur (2007) stated that it is still not clear which behaviors and behavior patterns constitute towards sexual harassment. The existence of the gray area makes it harder for individuals to make a judgment, and prosecutors to rule in individual cases. The next section of the review will focus on the main problems that prevent the discovery and the reporting of sexual harassment cases worldwide.

Barriers of Reporting and Ethical/Legal Considerations

According to the Stop Violence Against Women (2007), in most cases sexual harassment is not reported for many reasons. First, women do not believe that authorities and supervisors within the company would take any steps. Secondly, many women are afraid of becoming stigmatized and being blamed for falling a victim of this act. Finally, in some cases, women simply do not want to hurt the person who harassed them. They might be good friends, and a corporate night out resulted in unwanted sexual advancements. In these cases, women believe that the prosecution of the person would be too great of a punishment.

It is also hard to provide a proof of injury at court, and in most cases it is one person’s word against the other person’s, as sexual harassment usually takes place without anyone witnessing it.

Preventive Actions

One of the actions that are taken to handle sexual harassment is that all sexual harassment problems is to create relevant company policies that focus on training related to ethics. Further, policies need to state that employees can report sexual harassment anonymously.

The culture of the organization should focus on openness information sharing. In an ethical company, unwanted sexual advancement should not be tolerated. It’s one thing to be on even ground with that person, as far as sexual advances or even making sexual jokes that they don’t mind. At the same time, when the person starts taking it personally then it should be reported because the person has to feel like what they say and feel matters. According to Sherwyn (2008), “Everyone entertains a different perception of sexual harassment in the workplace, but a coworker’s personal life combined with sexual teasing should never come into play because it can cause some real damage to them especially with people that they have to work around (Sherwyn, 55, 2008).

Recent Case Analysis

A recent sexual harassment case against Kroger (Arkansas Matters, 2015) shows that the company itself has certain responsibilities towards employees. Certain steps need to be taken after the issues are reported, or the preventive policies will not achieve their intended effect. A teenager employee was subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, and repeatedly reported the issue to her supervisor. According to the ruling in the case, Keoger “failed to take effective action to prevent such abuse of the employee by a male co-worker” (Arkansas Matters, 2015, para. 2). The company did not take any action against the harasser, and is now made to pay a settlement of $42.500. As Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of EEOC’s  confirmed: “Employees – especially very young and vulnerable employees such as in this case — should be able to report to work without fear of sexual harassment,” (Quoted in:  Arkansas Matters, 2015, para. 5).

Bosses and supervisors are usually required to take action, but sometimes they fail to fulfill their obligations to victims, like in the above case.  In light of this, special or mandatory training on sexual harassment is another course of action that people as well as CEOs are forced to take and participate in. During the training people, people, coworkers as well as supervisors are taught about the importance of sexual harassment preventions. Also, these same people are walked through several different training scenarios that show and illustrate what is appropriate behavior in the workplace along with what is intolerable or where the line needs to be drawn.

Reflection and Recommendations

According to Blackstone (2012), “Men and women are made victims of sexual harassment, harmless sexual teasing can open the doors to workplace violence unless measures are put in place to prevent this from happening” (Blackstone, 2012). Therefore, policies should not only focus on women, but the entire population.

It can be argued that women are usually the common victims of sexual harassment and are immediately expected to tell the supervisor, but men are just as susceptible to it as women are. Back in the mid to late 90s, sexual harassment wasn’t as prevalent and in need of methodical prevention like it is today but what is clear is that both genders of people experience it at one point in time.

There have been instances in the past where people who file sexual harassment complaints aren’t dealt with accordingly because of the lack of evidence or because it’s her word against his. In these cases,  employers need to determine who is lying and who’s telling the truth; it can become a battle of moral and workplace. Education related to sexual harassment, prevention, and making it easy to report cases seems to be the most effective solution for reducing the number of cases.

According to Carter (2006), “taking preventative steps to eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace is the key to happy and productive workers not to mention happy supervisors” (Carter, 2006). It can be said that sexual harassment in the workplace is an issue that should be handled with care, because it can impact a lot of people.

In closing, sexual harassment in the workplace has caused quite a lot of damage to the people working in the workplace because of the inaction on both parties’ side but taking the time to prevent it shows courage and adaptability to change; a person’s job is not a place for sexual advances or sexual harassment of any kind. It’s everyone’s responsibility to stop it at the source.

Arkansas Matters. (2015) Kroger to Pay Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settlement. Arkansas Matters News online. Retrieved from  news/kroger-to-pay-sexual-harrassment-lawsuit-settlement

Blackstone, A. (2012, May 1). Fighting Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from University of Maine

Carter, S. (2006). Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from

Crain, K. A., & Heischmidt, K. A. (1995). Implementing business ethics: Sexual harassment. Journal of Business Ethics ,  14 (4), 299-308.

Dromm, K. (2012, May 31). Keith Dromm on Sexual Harassment . Retrieved November 9, 2015, from

Ramsaroop, A., & Parumasur, S. B. (2007). The prevalence and nature of sexual harassment in the workplace: A model for early identification and effective management thereof. SA  Journal of Industrial Psychology ,  33 (2), 25-33.

Sherwyn, D. (2008). Roundtable Retrospective 2007: Dealing with Sexual Harassment. The Scholarly Commons , 2, 55-55.

Stop Violence Against Women. (2007) Barriers to Effective Enforcement of Sexual Harassment Law. Retrieved from

Stop Violence Against Women. (2011) Prevalence of Sexual Harassmen t. Retrieved from

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Soldier Who Was Inspector General Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Faces Sexual Assault, Harassment Charges

Gavel and American flag with scales of justice.

The Army inspector general's noncommissioned officer of the year for 2019 is facing a general court-martial on charges related to sex crimes, according to court documents.

Master Sgt. Christopher Dehn, 37, is set to be arraigned June 5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state on four counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual harassment, and other charges related to obstructing justice and failure to obey orders and regulations.

In 2019, Dehn was selected as the I Corps Inspector General Noncommissioned Officer of the Year .

Read Next: 19.5% Pay Raise for Junior Enlisted Troops Approved by House Panel attempted to reach out to Dehn's attorney but was not able to make contact before publication. The Army's Office of Special Trial Counsel noted that Dehn's docket does not contain information on his defense attorney, and advised that they would ask the prosecutorial team to contact Dehn's attorney.

Inspector general offices serve as "the eyes, ears, voice, and conscience of the Army," according to the service . Service members working in IG offices "conduct thorough, objective and impartial inspections, assessments and investigations" and "advise and assist Army leaders to maintain Army values, readiness and effectiveness in the promotion of well-being, good order and discipline."

IG offices are spread throughout the federal government and are broadly intended to help detect fraud, waste and abuse and legal violations, and to help promote bureaucratic efficiency.

They do not generally handle allegations of unwanted sexual contact, a job that falls to the military's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response offices and law enforcement. However, there are certain exceptions under which an IG office may investigate sexual assault or harassment.

Sexual assault and sexual harassment continue to be a top issue for the Army and the military in general. However, for the first time in almost 10 years, recent data has shown a significant decrease in the number of troops who say they've experienced unwanted sexual contact.

According to his LinkedIn page , Dehn said he was named the 2019 Pacific Regional Inspector General of the Year. His page also notes that he formerly served as an Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, victim's advocate for the 1st Infantry Division between 2012 and 2014, while stationed at Fort Riley , Kansas.

In an email to, the I Corps public affairs office noted that Dehn is a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist with I Corps; has been stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord since January 2018; and has served for almost 20 years.

According to the statement, his personal awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, six Army Commendation Medals, 11 Army Achievement Medals, 13 Certificates of Achievement and one Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Upon receiving the 2019 I Corps inspector general NCO of the year award, Dehn noted that the essay component of the competition was a key part of being selected as the winner.

"The point of my essay was to show the importance of the inspector general and how they can improve readiness throughout the corps," Dehn said at the time . "My piece is looking out for soldiers."

-- Kelsey Baker is a graduate student at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and a former active-duty Marine. Reach her on X at @KelsBBaker or [email protected] .

Related: Military Sexual Assaults Have Declined, Marking the First Significant Progress for Prevention Efforts in Years

Kelsey Baker

sexual harassment personal essay

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Balancing Weaknesses and Strengths: a Path to Personal Growth

This essay about personal growth explores the balance between strengths and weaknesses, likening it to a symphony where both elements contribute to self-awareness and resilience. It highlights the importance of recognizing and embracing weaknesses as opportunities for growth, while also valuing strengths as guides and tools for overcoming challenges. The essay emphasizes self-compassion, self-reflection, and the integration of both strengths and weaknesses to achieve authentic and holistic personal development.

How it works

In the intricate odyssey of personal growth, the dynamic interplay between our weaknesses and strengths creates a distinctive tapestry of evolution. Envision it as a grand symphony, where each note, whether resonant or subtle, contributes to the rich harmony of self-awareness and resilience. It’s a melody echoing through the corridors of our lives, guiding us toward profound insights into our capabilities and potential.

Contrary to popular belief, personal development isn’t just about amplifying strengths and ignoring weaknesses. Instead, it’s a delicate balancing act—a nuanced dance requiring finesse and introspection.

It’s about acknowledging our rough edges with gentle honesty, recognizing that they, too, play a crucial role in our journey.

Consider weaknesses as uncut gems nestled within the depths of our being—raw and unrefined, yet full of promise. They aren’t blemishes to be hidden but opportunities for growth, encouraging us to embrace vulnerability and its transformative power. It’s in these vulnerable moments that we uncover reservoirs of strength, resilience, and courage, paving new pathways toward self-mastery.

As we navigate our weaknesses, it’s crucial not to lose sight of our strengths—the beacons that illuminate our path. Like stars in the night sky, our strengths guide us through adversity, infusing our journey with purpose and significance. They are the tools in our toolbox, the secret ingredients that enable us to overcome obstacles and seize opportunities with confidence.

However, our strengths are more than just instruments for personal advancement; they’re also the keys to unlocking our latent potential. Think of them as mirrors reflecting our true selves, revealing aspects of our being we may have overlooked. By embracing our strengths, we gain clarity and insight, allowing us to navigate life’s challenges with greater wisdom and grace.

So, how do we achieve this delicate balance between weaknesses and strengths? It begins with a willingness to embrace our imperfections—to sit with them, learn from them, and grow from them. It’s a journey of self-discovery that requires delving into the depths of our being with curiosity and courage.

Practical strategies can aid us on this journey—strategies such as self-reflection, goal-setting, and seeking feedback from trusted mentors and peers. These tools act as compasses, guiding us toward our true north and helping us stay on course in the face of adversity.

Yet, perhaps the most powerful tool of all is self-compassion—the gentle art of accepting ourselves exactly as we are, flaws and all. It’s about extending kindness and understanding to ourselves, just as we would to a cherished friend in need. In the tender embrace of self-compassion, we find the strength to confront our weaknesses, knowing we are worthy of love and belonging despite our perceived shortcomings.

Ultimately, balancing weaknesses and strengths is not just about self-improvement; it’s about embracing the entirety of who we are, with all our quirks, imperfections, and idiosyncrasies. It’s about recognizing that our weaknesses are not obstacles but stepping stones to growth. And it’s about celebrating our strengths not as accolades to boast about but as gifts to share with the world.

Let us welcome the dance of personal growth with open arms, understanding that in the delicate interplay between weaknesses and strengths, we find not just transformation but liberation—a liberation that empowers us to live authentically, boldly, and unapologetically as ourselves.


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Balancing Weaknesses and Strengths: A Path to Personal Growth. (2024, May 28). Retrieved from

"Balancing Weaknesses and Strengths: A Path to Personal Growth." , 28 May 2024, (2024). Balancing Weaknesses and Strengths: A Path to Personal Growth . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 31 May. 2024]

"Balancing Weaknesses and Strengths: A Path to Personal Growth.", May 28, 2024. Accessed May 31, 2024.

"Balancing Weaknesses and Strengths: A Path to Personal Growth," , 28-May-2024. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 31-May-2024] (2024). Balancing Weaknesses and Strengths: A Path to Personal Growth . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 31-May-2024]

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Morgan Spurlock, Documentarian Known for ‘Super Size Me,’ Dies at 53

His 2004 film followed Mr. Spurlock as he ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month. It was nominated for an Oscar, but it later came in for criticism.

Morgan Spurlock, a young man with brown hair, sideburns and a long mustache, poses with French fries in his left hand and a hamburger in his right. He wears a red T-shirt with a picture of a burger on it.

By Clay Risen and Remy Tumin

Morgan Spurlock, a documentary filmmaker who gained fame with his Oscar-nominated 2004 film “ Super Size Me ,” which followed him as he ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days — but later stepped back from the public eye after admitting to sexual misconduct — died on Thursday in New York City. He was 53.

His brother Craig Spurlock said the cause was complications of cancer.

A self-described attention hound with a keen eye for the absurd, Mr. Spurlock was a playwright and television producer when he rocketed to global attention with “Super Size Me,” an early entry into the genre of gonzo participatory filmmaking that borrowed heavily from the confrontational style of Michael Moore and the up-close-and-personal influences of reality TV, which was then just emerging as a genre.

The film’s approach was straightforward: Mr. Spurlock would eat nothing but McDonald’s food for a month, and if a server at the restaurant offered to “supersize” the meal — that is, to give him the largest portion available for each item — he would accept.

The movie then follows Mr. Spurlock and his ever-patient girlfriend through his 30-day odyssey, splicing in interviews with health experts and visits to his increasingly disturbed physician. At the end of the month, he was 25 pounds heavier, depressed, puffy-faced and experiencing liver dysfunction.

The film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, grossed over $22 million, made Mr. Spurlock a household name, earned him an Academy Award nomination for best documentary and helped spur a sweeping backlash against the fast-food industry — though only temporarily ; today, McDonald’s has 42,000 locations worldwide, its stock is near an all-time high, and 36 percent of Americans eat fast food on any given day.

“His movie,” the critic A.O. Scott wrote in The New York Times , “goes down easy and takes a while to digest, but its message is certainly worth the loss of your appetite.”

The film became a touchstone in American culture. By making himself a part of the story, Mr. Spurlock could be considered a forerunner of TikTok influencers and citizen-journalist YouTubers.

And even after the backlash against fast food subsided, “Super Size Me” remained a staple in high school health classes and a reference point for taking personal responsibility for one’s own diet.

But the film also came in for subsequent criticism. Some people pointed out that Mr. Spurlock refused to release the daily logs tracking his food intake. Health researchers were unable to replicate his results in controlled studies.

And in 2017, he admitted that he had not been sober for more than a week at a time in 30 years — meaning that, in addition to his “McDonald’s only” diet, he was drinking, a fact that he concealed from his doctors and the audience, and that most likely skewed his results.

The admission came in a statement in which he also revealed multiple incidents of sexual misconduct, including an encounter in college that he described as rape, as well as repeated infidelity and the sexual harassment of an assistant at his production company, Warrior Poets.

The statement, which Mr. Spurlock posted on Twitter in 2017, came as he was gearing up for the release of a sequel to the film, “ Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! ” on YouTube Red.

He stepped down from his production company, and YouTube dropped the film; it was instead released in 2019 by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Morgan Valentine Spurlock was born on Nov. 7, 1970, in Parkersburg, W.Va., and grew up in Beckley, W.Va. His father, Ben, owned and operated an auto-repair shop, and his mother, Phyllis (Valentine) Spurlock, was a junior high school and high school guidance counselor.

He later said he grew up as a fan of 1970s and ’80s British comedies like “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and “Blackadder.”

“I was doing funny walks round the house at 6 or 7,” he told The Independent in 2012 .

He studied film at New York University and received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1993, then began his career as a production assistant on film projects around New York City, beginning with Luc Besson’s “Léon: The Professional” (1994).

He also began writing plays, including “The Phoenix,” which won an award at the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival.

Mr. Spurlock’s first foray onto the screen was a proto-reality show called “I Bet You Will,” which was also one of the first web-only programs. In five-minute segments, he would dare people to do something gross, or humiliating, or both — eating a “worm burrito,” for example — in exchange for a wad of cash.

The show drew millions of viewers, as well as the interest of MTV, which bought the program a few months after it debuted.

During a Thanksgiving visit to his parents in 2002, Mr. Spurlock saw a TV news story about two women who had sued McDonald’s, claiming that the chain had misled them about the nutritional value of its hamburgers, fries and sodas and caused them to gain significant weight.

“A spokesman for McDonald’s came on and said, you can’t link their obesity to our food — our food is healthy, it’s nutritious,” he told The New York Times in 2004 . “I thought, ‘If it’s so good for me, I should be able to eat it every day, right?’”

And thus, “Super Size Me” was born.

Mr. Spurlock took to fame eagerly, and, with his wide smile and handlebar mustache, was hard to miss. He became an unofficial spokesman for the wellness movement, hobnobbed with celebrity chefs — and scrambled to find a new project.

He did not want to lose the momentum generated by “Super Size Me,” nor did he want to go down in history only as the guy who ate a lot of Big Macs.

“I’ll be that guy till I die,” he told The Independent.

A follow-up film, “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?” (2008), was not nearly as well received. Critics assailed him for making light of an international terrorist and for oversimplifying complicated global politics. More bricks were thrown when it emerged that he had put himself at significant personal risk while in Pakistan while his wife was at home with their newborn son.

Eventually, he did get somewhat past the shadow of “Super Size Me”: He teamed up with the actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett to explore the male grooming industry in “Mansome” (2012) and followed the band One Direction around, resulting in the film “One Direction: This Is Us” (2013).

He produced films by other documentarians, including “The Other F Word” (2011), directed by Andrea Blaugrund Nevins, about punk rockers who became fathers, and “A Brony Tale” (2014), directed by Brent Hodge, about the subculture known as Bronies — adults, mostly men, who love the animated series “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.”

And he continued to make projects that leaned on the participatory style of “Super Size Me.” He created and starred in a series called “30 Days” for FX, in which a person, often Mr. Spurlock himself, would spend about a month embedded in a community much different from his own. One episode saw him spend 25 days in a Virginia jail.

Mr. Spurlock was married three times, to Priscilla Sommer, Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein; all three marriages ended in divorce. Along with his brother Craig, he is survived by another brother, Barry; his parents; and his sons, Laken and Kallen.

His decision to discuss his sexual past, which came at the height of the #Metoo movement, was met with a mix of praise and criticism. Though many people lauded him for coming forward, critics suggested that he was trying to get ahead of a story that was going to emerge anyway.

All agreed, though, that the decision came with consequences: “Career death,” The Washington Post declared it in 2022 , noting that the once-ubiquitous Mr. Spurlock had largely disappeared.

Clay Risen is a Times reporter on the Obituaries desk. More about Clay Risen

Remy Tumin is a reporter for The Times covering breaking news and other topics. More about Remy Tumin

sexual harassment personal essay

Megan Thee Stallion’s Lawyers Say Her Former Cameraman ‘Is A Con Artist Who Is Manipulating The Judicial System’

Megan Thee Stallion’s legal team is vehemently refuting the allegations made by her former personal cameraman regarding harrassment and being underpaid.

According to a recent court document obtained by Rolling Stone, Megan’s attorneys, Mari Henderson and Alex Spiro, assert that the allegations of sexual harassment and labor code violations made by her former cameraman Emilio Garcia are “fabricated” and “outlandish,” with no basis in truth. As we previously reported the shocking lawsuit alleges the rapper had sex with a woman riding in an SUV in Europe with two other passengers and her and the cameraman, Emilio Garcia. The lawsuit also alleges that the singer fat-shamed the cameraman, saying things to him such as “You don’t need to be eating” and “Spit your food out.” Not only did the lawsuit make harassment claims it also noted that Megan Thee Stallion failed to provide meal and rest breaks as required by law. 

RELATED: Megan Thee Stallion Hit With Lawsuit By Former Cameraman Claiming He Was Forced To Watch Her Have Sex

“Plaintiff is a con artist who is manipulating the judicial system to act as his publicist and bullhorn in a desperate attempt to boost his failed singing career while trying to tear down the successful career of Megan thee Stallion,” Henderson and Spiro write in their response to the lawsuit. “Throughout his tenure as an independently contracted photographer and videographer for Ms. Pete and her production companies…(Garcia) repeatedly falsified his invoices and overcharged Ms. Pete for services he never completed and sought reimbursements for money he never spent.”

Megan’s legal team claims that Garcia’s consistent misrepresentations were so frequent that their client had no choice but to fire him in June 2023.

“Angry at the loss of this high-profile gig and his exile from the inner circles of stardom, (Garcia) filed a factually and legally frivolous complaint. (He) took a run of the mill wage and labor dispute and trumped up his frivolous claims with sensationalist false allegations of sex, debauchery, and workplace harassment for the sole purpose of creating a media firestorm to tarnish the career and reputation of Ms. Pete,” the lawyers shared. 

RELATED: Megan Thee Stallion On Reclaiming Her Mental And Physical Health Following 2020 Shooting

According to the court documents obtained by @nbc, Megan Thee Stallion’s former camera-man Emilio Garcia claims he was trapped inside a moving vehicle with the rapper while she engaged in sexual activities with another woman. According to the documents the incident took place around June 2022 when Garcia was tour with Meg and they were in Ibiza, Spain. The suit continues to allege that after a night out  while riding in a SUV “suddenly Stallion and one other woman start[ed] having sex right beside Garcia,” the documents state. Garcia “could not get out of the car as it was both moving, and he was in the middle of nowhere in a foreign country,” the document continued. 

Garcia went on to claim that the incident made him feel uncomfortable. “I was kind of frozen, and I was shocked. At kind of just be the overall audacity to do this right, right beside me,” Garcia explained to NBC News. He also went on to say that he spoke to Megan Thee Stallion the next day and she told him “Don’t ever discuss what you saw” before she allegedly “berated and directed her fat-shaming comments towards Garcia, such as ‘Fat B-tch.’” Also allegedly telling him “you don’t need to be eating.” Emilio Garcia reportedly began working for Megan Thee Stallion in 2018 and left his other job in 2019 to work exclusively with the rapper.

“What I learned throughout the years is that, especially coming from an from an office environment, is you know, there’s no HR department in the entertainment business,” Garcia told NBC News in an interview. “So if you don’t know that you’re being done wrong, you don’t really know how to advocate for yourself until you start asking maybe you start asking your peers who have representation, they have agents, they have management, they have attorney. So I just really just want to encourage people to advocate for themselves.”

The post Megan Thee Stallion’s Lawyers Say Her Former Cameraman ‘Is A Con Artist Who Is Manipulating The Judicial System’ appeared first on Hollywood Unlocked .

Megan Thee Stallion’s Lawyers Say Her Former Cameraman ‘Is A Con Artist Who Is Manipulating The Judicial System’

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace Essay

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The ways in which an organization responds to claims of sexual harassment and pervasive discrimination based on gender are fundamental for repairing a damaged reputation and preventing similar cases from occurring in the future. Due to the high number of court cases that involve companies responding to charges of discrimination and sexual harassment, it is essential to analyze such cases for organizational managers to understand how they can avoid them in the future. In this paper, the case chosen for analysis involves a South-Dakota social services organization serving low-income individuals across the state. As a result of the lawsuit, the organization, Rural Office of Community Services Inc., will pay monetary relief while having to resolve further reputational problems and develop ideas and approaches for supporting diversity and inclusivity.

The case report states that the organization was to pay $320,000 in monetary relief to a class of employees who were affected by sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender. The workers filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging that Rural Office of Community Services Inc. discriminated against them because of their sex, subjecting them to sexual harassment and retaliating against specific workers complaining to terminate them (“South Dakota Social Agency Fined $320K,” 2022). In the lawsuit, the EEOC conducted an investigation into the conduct, finding that the organization’s executive director harassed female employees regardless of the complaints made to the management and the board of directors. Significantly, it was determined that the harassment lasted over several years, violating the provisions of the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“South Dakota Social Agency Fined $320K,” 2022). The provisions ban discrimination on the basis of sex and retaliation against persons who complain about such conduct. The violation of the law shows the organizations’ disregard for equal rights principles for which Americans have fought.

After researching and reviewing the value statement of Rural Office of Community Services Inc., no mention of diversity and inclusion is present. This presents a reputational problem for the organization because there is a lack of consideration for how the lack of diversity in the workplace benefits the organization. The first strategy that the organization can implement for embedding diversity and inclusion is to implement diversity training in the workplace so that the commitment to the principles is visible through action and not just communicated. This strategy entails showing what diversity and inclusion mean for the organization and how they are promoted in the everyday work context (Heaslip, 2020). The second recommendation that the company should implement is to ensure that the value statement serves a purpose and there are actionable aspects that can be included. For example, the contents may include how many diverse low-income families were served, whether there are diverse individuals in leadership positions, or what inclusion goals the organization pursues for the future.

Prior to implementing any procedures for compliance with the issue related to the lawsuit, it is necessary that the Rural Office of Community Services Inc. follows federal anti-discrimination laws, including the Title VII of the Civil rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and several others. The first important strategy for the organization is to establish a strongly-worded zero-tolerance policy for gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The policy should be reinforced after consistent employee and manager training has been implemented, with their conduct being subjected to reviews if necessary. The second strategy entails holding managers accountable through reporting requirements summarizing specific efforts to advance gender equality and prevent discrimination based on sex. When clear reporting channels are established, it will become easier to communicate any cases showing a lack of adherence to the zero-tolerance policy.

Within a larger social context, the compliance issue that was revealed in the case concerning the organization illustrates the pervasive impact of patriarchal values on society and workplaces in particular. Women remain discriminated against in the workplace because they are perceived as less qualified or capable, while sexual harassment occurs when perpetrators are certain that their victims can do nothing to protect themselves or make a report (Folke & Rickne, 2022). Until society becomes more inclusive and abandons the stereotypical gender roles, it is likely that women will remain discriminated against and harassed in the workplace, which is an unfavorable prognosis.

To conclude, the case involving the Rural Office of Community Services Inc. and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission points to the importance of practices associated with diversity and inclusion in the workplace in order to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination from occurring in the workplace setting. As the case becomes known to the public, the organization will have to deal with reputational outcomes while also showing that it can adhere to practices regarding the internal investigation of complaints. Besides, the organization will have to engage in employee and manager training, report to the EEOC regularly, as well as embed the principles of diversity and inclusion into its statement of values.

Folke, O., & Rickne, J. (2022). Sexual harassment and gender inequality in the labor market . The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 137 (4), 2163-2212. Web.

Heaslip, E. (2020). Writing a diversity and inclusion statement: How to get it right . Web.

South Dakota social agency fined $320K . (2022). Web.

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  • Huawei Corporation: Impact of Government
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2024, May 27). Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace.

"Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace." IvyPanda , 27 May 2024,

IvyPanda . (2024) 'Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace'. 27 May.

IvyPanda . 2024. "Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace." May 27, 2024.

1. IvyPanda . "Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace." May 27, 2024.


IvyPanda . "Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace." May 27, 2024.

Statistics and Actuarial Science

Information for new graduate students in actuarial science, data science and statistics at the university of iowa..

Welcome New Graduate Students!

Information for NEW graduate students in Actuarial Science, Data Science and Statistics at the University of Iowa. 

Last Updated, May 30, 2024.                                   Additional  updates will be sent this summer!

Important Information for International Students

The Office of International Students and Scholars does an incredible job helping you settle into Iowa City and the University of Iowa.  They have webinars to help with:  

1. Getting Started and Making Travel Arrangements

2. Achieving Success: On-campus Involvement and Cultural Adjustment (undergraduate students)

3. Graduate Student Professionalization and Support

4. Understanding Orientation Expectations, Responsibilities, and Placement Tests (graduate students)

5. On-campus Housing Assignments and Move-in Tips (undergraduate students)

6. Student Employment

7. Money Matters - University Billing

Do you need to take the SPEC (Spoken Proficiency of English for the Classroom)?

All students for whom English is not a first language (as self-reported on their admissions application) and who have first-time appointments as graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are required to go through a testing process to assess their effectiveness in speaking English before they are assigned assistantship responsibilities. Beginning in Fall 2024, there will be a new test to assess communication in English in a classroom context called SPEC (Spoken Proficiency of English in the Classroom).  This is replacing ESPA and ELPT.  Details will be coming soon.

Any graduate student who is included in the following categories needs to have their oral English proficiency tested by the TAPE Program:

  • Students whose first language is not English (i.e., learned another language first) as self-reported on their admissions application, and
  • Have been appointed as a Teaching Assistant

Exemptions (may change):

  • Students with an official valid (within the last two years) iBT Listening score of 25 and an iBT Speaking score of 26.
  • Undergraduate degrees and/or     
  • Continuous attendance of English-language schools since the age of 12 (or younger)
  • Students who served as teaching assistants at other institutions of higher learning in which the language of instruction is English, if they were listed as the instructor of record for a course or led a discussion section in English for at least one year, with a year defined as either two academic semesters or three academic quarters.
  • Requests for exceptions regarding the SPEC  can be submitted for evaluation to a committee consisting of the Director of ESL Programs, the Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs in the Graduate College, and a representative from University Human Resources.

Requests for exemption and exceptions must come from the department by the deadline, not the student.   Deadlines to register students for the SPEC are:

  • March 1  

NOT Exemptions:

  • Students who come from a country where English is one of the official languages.
  • Students who are U.S. permanent residents or U.S. citizens whose first language is not English.

Testing Procedures & Results

 To be announced soon!

Graduate/Professional International Students Important Dates

July 12, 2024:  Earliest date you may enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status. August 11, 2024:  Latest date by which you should arrive in Iowa City August 12 - 16, 2024: International Student Orientation August 26, 2024:  Classes begin.

Housing Information for All Students

The department has a housing webpage, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. If you are looking for a roommate, please let us know and we can update this web page!

Looking for housing options ?

All US citizens that are financially supported (TA, RA) need to be here on August 21.

All students will register for classes the week before classes start.  International students must complete the required Orientation Program before  they can register for classes.    


Fall Classes Advising will be August 19-23

All NEW UI students must meet with their advisor prior to registration.  There is no worry about getting into any of the classes we teach.  

  • IF you are an Actuarial Science MS or PhD student you will need to meet with Professor Shyamalkumar.  Email him after August 12 at [email protected] to set a time to meet to discuss what classes to take, it may be on Zoom or in his office (233 Schaeffer Hall).
  • IF you are a Data Science MS, Statistics MS, or PhD student you will need to meet with Professor Boxiang Wang.  Email him after August 12 at [email protected]  to set a time to meet to discuss what classes to take, it may be on Zoom or in his office (261 Schaeffer Hall).

New Graduate College Welcome and Orientation, August 21

The Graduate College Fall 2024 Graduate Student Orientation event will take place on Wednesday, August 21, 2024.  A registration form will be sent to your UI email sometime this early summer from the Graduate College. All new doctoral and master’s students are invited to attend.  

Financially Supported Graduate Students must come in person and present required documents for employment verification.   

  • Details coming soon!

New Student Department Orientation, August 23 at 9 a.m., Room to be determined.

  • All New Student Orientation —Group Introductions and General Policy Procedures.

New Supported Graduate Assistants Orientation, August 23 at 1 p.m., Room to be determined.

  • Our Director of Graduate Studies will have a department review of expectations and your specific roles in our department. Teaching and grading assignments will be explained, as well as preparation, teaching tips, problems and questions, quizzes and exams, weekly meetings, grading, appropriate office use and the Sexual Harassment Prevention Education

Mailbox in 241 Schaeffer Hall 

All graduate students will have a mailbox in our main office.  The faculty do as well.  Please check your mailbox at least once a week!

Office Desk Assignment

Nearly all supported students will have a desk in one of our offices.  The assignment priority (in this order) includes Ph.D. and Fellowship candidates, research assistants, half-time teaching assistants, quarter-time teaching assistants and lastly graders.  Having a desk is a privilege and should be used only for university business.  Office assignments will be given to students on, August 23.  Keys are checked out ONLY after that time.  Please remember to keep the rooms clean and take out all trash to the large bins in the main hallways.

Set-up your University of Iowa Email

All University of Iowa students are required to activate their assigned email address, as all official communication from university offices are now sent via email, rather than hard copy. This address usually follows the pattern [email protected]   (However, often a number is also attached.) 

To activate the account:

  • Log on to  MyUI
  • Click on My UIowa / My Email / Request Email Account
  • Complete the specified steps.

Students who prefer to maintain only their work or home email addresses can do so by routing the email to a work or home account. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Click on My UIowa / My Email / Update Email Routing Address

Important Notes:

  • If your email address is routed to a different account, you will  not  need to change your address in ICON, as your messages will already forward to your routed address.
  • Log on to MYUI.
  • Click on My UIowa / My Email / Email Account Filter bulk mail.
  • Make sure that none of the categories are checked.

Required Graduate Assistants Teaching Courses:

  • ONLINE CLASS Requirement: Sexual Harassment Prevention Edu.  Use your HawkID and password to log into Employee Self Service. Click the Personal tab, next (under Learning and Development) click on Sexual Harassment Prevention Edu., follow instructions.
  • ONLINE CLASS Requirement:  Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Use your HawkID and password to log into Employee Self Service. Click the Personal tab, next (under Learning and Development) next click on Available Online Icon Courses, next FERPA Training, then click on View Details twice and the last click will be to Enroll in this ICON Course Session.
  • A six-hour orientation program will be required of all students who are certified at level A or B and are teaching for the first time.  This orientation helps new teaching assistants understand the culture of the U.S. classroom and treats topics such as student expectations, teacher-student relationships, and understanding and answering student questions. Discussion focuses on suggestions for maximizing comprehensibility in spoken English. This course meets twice for 3 hours early in the semester. Both meetings are held in the evening.

Administrative Department Staff:

Professor aixin tan (until july 1, 2024).

Director of Graduate Studies, Statistics and Data Science Graduate Advisor: [email protected]   (319) 335-0821.

Professor Boxiang Wang (beginning July 1, 2024)

Director of Graduate Studies, Statistics and Data Science Graduate Advisor: [email protected] (319) 335-2294.

Professor N.D. Shyamalkumar

Actuarial Science Graduate Advisor:  [email protected]    (319) 335-1980

Margie Ebert

Academic Services Coordinator ,  [email protected]  (319) 335-2082

Heather Roth

Administrative Services Coordinator  [email protected]   (319) 335-0712

Tammy Siegel

Department Administrator ,  [email protected] , (319) 335-0706


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  29. Information for NEW graduate students in Actuarial Science, Data

    Teaching and grading assignments will be explained, as well as preparation, teaching tips, problems and questions, quizzes and exams, weekly meetings, grading, appropriate office use and the Sexual Harassment Prevention EducationMailbox in 241 Schaeffer Hall All graduate students will have a mailbox in our main office. The faculty do as well.