In order to prevent sexual harassment cases in the workplace, sexual harassment training have been set up in some companies (it is even required by law in California for companies with more than 50 employees). But as the title of the article suggest, research have shown that it can have reverse effect.
The main explanation could come from the “cartoonish, somewhat unrealistic” examples often shown in those trainings. But more importantly, the consequences are surprising : men who have completed sexual harassment trainings were “’significantly less likely’ to consider coercive behaviors toward a subordinate or student as sexual harassment compared with a control group of men who hadn’t done the training” and also less likely to report sexual harassment. Another unexpected consequence is that “after men learned about harassment rules, it triggered implicit gender biases, effectively making it more likely for them to stereotype women”.
Note : a precision is given in the article that studies about the effect of those trainings are very limited, but among those studies, a minimal amount of them have shown positive effects.
“Men sexually harass women because they are not sexist”, part 1 and 2, Satoshi Kanazawa, 2009.
Two parts article by Psychology Today, relating how sexual harassment against women can be seen as a simple difference of behavior and not a matter of power position. The first part describes how men and women have different sexual behaviors and are more likely to have ‘casual sex’ than women and how this could explain that, because men have different needs, they sexually harass women. According to the author, another explanation could be that “as Linda Mealy […] puts it: “That females are selected to be coy will mean that sometimes saying ‘no’ really does mean ‘try a little harder.’” Of course, women sometimes do mean no when they say no, but this isn’t always the case.”
The second part of the article explain that men have had behavior which can be qualified as sexual harassment between each other for a long time and the only change is in the fact that women have entered labor force and therefore, are now experiencing those kind of behaviors.
Note : Satoshi Kanazawa, author of those articles, was dissmissed from Psychology Today after publishing an article called “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” in 2011, qualified as racist and sexist and have published many other controversial articles such as, for example : “Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes?”.
According to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Comission), sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature”. As it is precised by the EEOC, ‘unwelcome’ does not mean ‘involuntary’, and whether a sexual conduct is considered as offensive or not is up to the person receiving them.
Although sexual harassment is most common in the workplace, it can also occur in different environments such as school or even family. Another form of sexual harassment, slightly different, is known as street harassment (or stranger harassment). This particular form of harassment happens in public places such as streets, public transports, bars, etc. and is committed by strangers.
Although women are the most common reported victims, men also experience sexual harassment (mostly in the work place). In fact, as Cheryl Benard and Edit Schlaffer mention it in their paper “The Man in the Street” : why he harasses ?, “Like other forms of sexual violences, [sexual] harassment has little to do with the individual woman and nothing to do with sex; the issue is power”. This means that, whether it occurs in the workplace or in the street, sexual harassment is a way for the harasser to prove that he/she is a member of the “ruling group” and is therefore a consequence of every kind of discrimination : sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.
Experimental film about women experiencing sexual harassment in the street.
Nuala Cabral words about her video : “Experiencing and witnessing street harassment on a regular basis was the motivation for making this film. Growing up I mostly ignored street harassment, but then found myself living in cities where ignoring street harassment was not always the safest response. I began to realize that navigating street harassment was like an art form, something many women and girls learn to do in order to stay safe and comfortable. Since making the film I have also been thinking more about how non-gender conforming individuals and LGBT folks are also forced to master this “art” of avoiding or responding to street harassment. […] I have found filmmaking to be an excellent tool to explore social issues and engage audiences in critical dialogue about how things are and how things could be. […] I knew I wanted to expand my audience beyond those who already recognize street harassment as a problem. Encountering street harassment can feel alienating and lonely — even when bystanders are around and especially when bystanders say nothing. I hope the film speaks to this cross section of people because clearly we each have a role to play when it comes to ending street harassment.”
Oppressed Majority (Majorité Opprimée – English Subtitles), by Eleonore Pourriat.
With Pierre Benezit, Marie-Lorna Vaconsin, Marie Favasuli, Céline Menville…
First song: Comme un garçon, by StereoTotal
Last theme: Pocket Harmony feat. Moïra Conrath
The film encourages the viewer to reflect on women’s daily experiences in today’s society. Eleonore Pourriat reversed gender roles as a way to confront men with women’s everyday reality. In her opinion “men – it’s not their fault – they don’t imagine that women are assaulted even with words every day, with small, slight words. They can’t imagine that because they are not confronted with that themselves.”
The strengh of this movie relies on the reversal between gender, enabling men to understand better the phenomenon.