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The New York Times workplace sexual harassment survey

The New York Times surveyed men on their workplace sexual harassment history: What did they say?


2017 saw an unprecedented shift in women speaking publically about workplace sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement packed such a powerful punch to the status quo, it won Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

Recently, The New York Times conducted a survey of 615 men in which they were asked if they participated in any harassment behaviors at work. The list ranged from "told sexual stories or jokes" to "offered or implied rewards if someone engaged in sexual behavior or treated someone badly if they didn't."

Incidents of sexual harassment at work

More than 50% of women report having experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. Many studies have been conducted on victims of sexual harassment and their experiences but little research has been conducted on perpetrators.

In the New York Times story, 19 percent of men reported having told stories and jokes at work that could be deemed harassing and only 2 percent reported having coerced sexual behavior.

According to a Bustle discussion of The New York Times survey results, the percentage of men saying they conducted some form of sexual harassment and the women who report experiencing it, don't add up. What is the reason for this?

  • The men might be lying in the online survey
  • The men might not know their behavior is perceived as harassing by their female co-worker
  • The men might be repeat offenders

While women reporting sexual harassment in the workplace appears to be declining since 1994, it still remains widespread among all demographics.

Contributing factors to workplace harassment

While harassment occurs in all types of workplaces and social spheres, the defining characteristic of workplaces free of harassment seems to be the culture of the company itself.

In workplaces where managers and HR departments don't create clear guidelines, workplace harassment may be more widely accepted. Men in those workplaces report they feel okay initiating harassing behavior.

With all the recent reports and public allegations, it is important for victims to be aware of their rights. Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal and it should not be tolerated. We all play a role in making sexual harassment a thing of the past.

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