Corporate and political jobs in D.C. are often dominated by men. While men are becoming increasingly accustomed to seeing women in the workplace, this may only serve to make women a threat. In the sentiment of “boys will be boys” men often respond to this threat with aggression, including sexual aggression. This may not always include physical actions, but men may convey this aggression through words or gestures.
Some organizations — whether voluntarily or through inaction — perpetuate a culture where men may feel entitled to not just the top positions but the women at work. This becomes a strong precursor to sexual harassment. According to MarketWatch, there has been a 14% increase in sexual harassment claims filed in 2018 with the Equal Employment Commission. While men do get sexually harassed too, the overwhelming majority of victims are women. Also, many men often harass other men.
Some people view the increased complaints filed as a good thing. It means that both women and men are speaking out more about sexual harassment at work. However, it does also show that better laws and increased public awareness are not enough. Organizations also need to tackle the cultures that allow this behavior to pass as normal, and sometimes, even expected.
Forbes recognizes that this behavior does not only occur at work. Of all the women on dating apps, 57% report feeling harassed. Even in steady relationships, 29% of women face sexual assault at the hands of a husband or partner.
Thus, people also need to address the bigger culture of so-called-masculine behaviors that put women, children and sometimes other men at risk. Until society addresses this problem, women will continue to face sexual harassment and assault at work, at home and on the streets.