Sexual Harassment Myths

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There are several myths surrounding sexual harassment. These myths have been defined within research as “attitudes and beliefs that are generally false but are widely and persistently held, and that serve to deny and justify male harassment of women” (Diehl, Glaser, & Bohner, 2014). Research suggests these myths can have negative consequences for individuals, families and workplaces when sexual harassment occurs (Hershcovis, Parker, & Reich, 2010).
Diehl, Rees & Bohner (2012) classify sexual harassment into three categories; “unwanted sexual attention, gender harassment, and sexual coercion”. Generally unwanted sexual attention is when the perpetrator gives offensive and unreciprocated attention to their victim with the purpose of gaining
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Sexual harassment can result in several negative consequences for the victims. Depression, substance abuse and becoming a perpetrator of sexual harassment themselves, have been reported in young sexual harassment victims. Early experiences of sexual harassment within youth can lead to further poor mental health later in life. As well as, the increased likelihood of later repeated sexual harassment (Kaltiala-Heino, Fröjd, & Marttunen, 2016). Likewise depression and poor mental health has been reflected in older victims of sexual harassment (Friborg, et al., 2017). Myths surrounding sexual harassment may lead to victim blaming. Where victims are believed to be responsible for their experiences. This can further aggravate issues already caused by sexual harassment for individuals (Cowan, 2000). For example the victim may choose not to acknowledge or report their experience out of fear of the negative consequences. These consequences may be poor mental health, or broken relationships both in their personal and working life (Klein, Apple, & Kahn, 2011). Sexual harassment myths may lead the families and friends of victims to be unsupportive and hostile to the victim believing they brought the harassment upon themselves (Cowan, …show more content…
Sexual harassment is prevalent within workplaces and in some instances, ingrained into the culture of the work environment. Especially within industries and workplaces that are male dominated (Hershcovis et al, 2010). Myths surrounding sexual harassment can negatively impact employees in several ways. Firstly, the likelihood of the victim reporting the instance may be impacted if they feel due to beliefs held within the workplace, they won’t be believed. Myths surrounding sexual harassment can lead to the perpetrator being protected and the victim blamed for the harassment (Collinson & Collinson, 1992). Secondly, the victim may be blamed for the harassment due to beliefs such as “it wasn’t sexual harassment” or “she should/could have stopped it” (Lonsway, Cortina, & Magley, 2008). Thirdly, the culture of the organisation may believe that sexual harassment is a side effect of the job and therefore is unimportant and not harmful to its victims. This can lead to negative feelings for the victim surrounding themselves, and their work satisfaction (Friborg, et al.,

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