100 Men Campaign

Revelations, conversations and taking action to end sexual harassment

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Stories of powerful men using their positions to sexually harass and assault women have dominated the news. Check out 10 Things Men Can Do Right Now to Address Sexual Harassment in the Workplace to learn more about how you can make a difference.

As a society, we are learning more about sexual harassment and sexual assault and people are feeling more comfortable speaking up about it. We are beginning to understand the power dynamic that allows this problem to continue. We are learning harassment of a coworker is not flirting, but is unwelcome sexual behavior that may be physical, verbal or written – especially if it makes the victim feel intimidated or humiliated.

A positive development in all of this is that men are becoming much more vocal about believing survivors. The sheer number of survivors speaking out about victimization is being called a ‘watershed’ moment; it is a unique opportunity to engage in conversations with friends and family about these topics. You have likely heard some victim-blaming as people try to come to terms with the large number of allegations and revelations.

Here are a few ways you can redirect the conversation when that happens:

When you hear: “She’s probably making it up to get attention.”
Respond: The truth is that false accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment are very rarei, in fact these crimes are very much under-reported.

When you hear: “Why didn’t she come forward sooner?”
Respond: There are many barriers for survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault to report these crimes. A survivor might believe the report could jeopardize their current or future employment. Because there’s a tendency to blame the victim instead of the perpetrator, many survivors feel they won’t be believed; coming forward may actual re-traumatize survivors.

When you hear: “But he seemed like such a nice/good guy.”
Respond: Often times perpetrators of sexual harassment and sexual assault work to maintain a public image of the “nice guy”, this often works not only to deflect attention from their abusive behaviors, but to gain more access to victims. This is part of the reason people are surprised when survivors do speak out. Part of the disbelief is our alarm in realizing it’s not the nameless/faceless person in the bushes who may harm us, but it’s the guy who may sign our paycheck, promote us, hire us or fire us.

More survivors may choose to speak out in the days ahead and more men in entertainment, sports, politics and corporate America may be identified as perpetrators. This is a time well-meaning men like you can raise the bar. Look at your own workplace. Look at the policies and power dynamics. How can you do more to help women feel safe? Don’t be embarrassed by the actions of other men. Be ready. This is an incredible opportunity to rebuild our world so it is safer for all of us.

See how men are speaking up about this issue, check out #HowIWillChange and add your own pledge.  Ask your Human Resources Department to review current sexual harassment policies, or consider sending them to the WRCNM to receive thoughtful recommendations on how you can make your policies more inclusive and more mindful of the experiences of survivors of sexual harassment.

Or ask the WRCNM to provide training on workplace sexual harassment at your next staff meeting. For more information contact Megan King at (231) 347-1572 or by email.

iDavid Lisak, Lori Gardinier, Sarah C. Nicksa, Ashley M. Cote “False Allegations of Sexual Assault: An Analysis of Ten Years of Reported Cases” Violence Against Women (December 2010); pp. 1318-1334