Surprising statistics for sexual harassment in the workplace

We here at Hollaback! Baltimore love having guest bloggers. It not only allows for a wide range of view points on street harassment, but it helps us show that street harassment is part of the spectrum of gender-based violence, and ties street harassment to other issues faced by women and LGBTQ folks. Here, Alice shares some insight on sexual harassment in the workplace. Thanks, Alice!  – Shawna, co-director, Hollaback! Baltimore


Sexual harassment in the workplace is a larger issue than some of us might think. While there are only a number of us that have to do with sexual harassment directly or indirectly, it happens in workplaces across multiple industries and with multiple levels of severity around the world. California based sexual harassment attorney Frank Nicholas recently collected research into the issue, and some concerning statistics were found.

When surveyed, men were found to be less aware of various forms of sexual harassment in the workplace over women. Some men show almost 0 levels of awareness in instances where there was ongoing sexual harassment in their workplace whereas women seem to have a greater level of awareness as well as a higher level of reporting.

In recent surveys 54% of people have recorded that they’ve experienced some sort of sexual harassment in the workplace. Now this statistic may seem very high especially if you are used to working in a very safe workplace, but it just goes to show how prevalent this workplace issue can be. 17% of these sexual harassment experiences have been caused by a superior person of power where is 27% of sexual harassment in the workplace occurs from colleagues. In extreme cases, 12% of sexual harassment cases continue when the harassed receive threats of termination by not replying to the requests or ongoing advances of sexual harassment.

21% of the sexual harassment cases in the workplace were reported by men but 79% of sexual harassment in the workplace involves women making them the most targeted gender.

When it comes to age groups, the most commonly sexual harassed employees are between the ages of 21 and 25 with a moderate prevalent between 26 and 30 and the under 20 group being targeted in the third greatest frequency.

Sexual harassment can take on many forms in the workplace including:

Inappropriate touching of the body

Uncomfortable staring at body parts

Uncomfortable comments on physical appearance

Invasion of comfortable space

Using unwelcome or offensive terms or continuously advancing on someone at work.

By knowing the facts and understanding the frequency of sexual harassment you can find the confidence to make changes in your workplace or proper reporting.

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