Anna Anandita is a 23 year old hailing from the temple city Bhubaneswar, Odisha. She is currently pursuing M.Tech in Chemical Engineering in National Institute of Technology, Srinagar. Apart from academics, she enjoys writing, painting, dancing and occasional singing. She is quite active on various social media platforms. She enjoys working with various social services organizations and is a firm believer of trying to make the world a better place for someone in however little way it might be. She dreams to help build a unified India, an India where the so-called taboos do not exist and where one can exist peacefully and have a life of their own regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, location, language,etc.
Sexual Harassment among Men: A Stark Reality
On hearing the phrase ‘sexual harassment’ it is a general notion that people start thinking women. Yes, women are generally victims of sexual harassment but men are victimised by it too. Quite an increasing number of men have also been reporting instances of sexual harassment. In the year 2015, 6822 cases of sexual harassment in the workplace were filed with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)- U.S. out of which 17.1 percent were in fact filed by men. There has been a rise in reports of sexual harassment among men in various places, workplace being the most common whether it is as retaliation for refusing sexual advances, inappropriate touching or verbal comments. There are hardly any statistics regarding the issue as the number of reports from males is very low. In a country like ours, where males and females have been given a set of pre-decided guidelines on how they should behave, it hardly is a surprise that numerous cases of sexual faced by males are not even reported. Men are expected to be emotionless cold-hearted workaholic human beings. Showing any kind of emotion results in them being told again to ‘man up a littl’! A man being sexually harassed is told to stop behaving like a woman and be strong!
I ask why? Sexual harassment in any form, to any human being is a serious offence to the very being of the person and to their privacy. Verbal or physical, to any gender, it is an offence. It affects men too. Not just physically but also emotionally and mentally. Boys are taught to toughen up from childhood and are, very often, victims of child sexual abuse from a tender age. A stark slap would be the reality shows. Few have recently come under a lot of scrutiny in which boys were kissed by elder female celebrities, even when they were clearly not comfortable. Yes, they might be kids. But that does not give anyone the right to violate their personal’s space. And when a man calls the harassers out, they are ridiculed and laughed at. This should, in no way, be encouraged. Guys should not be afraid of any such consequences when they do the right thing and report the harassers.
Sexual harassment is a crime. It needs to be challenged directly and fought at every opportunity. However, it should always be remembered that it can be in any form and affect anyone regardless of their gender.
Opinions expressed are of the writer.