Sexual Harassment Is An Entrenched Cultural Problem | Janice S. Ellis
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Sexual Harassment Is An Entrenched Cultural Problem

sexual harassment is an entrenched cultural problem

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Perceiving women as sex objects, and treating them as such, is evidence that sexual harassment is an entrenched cultural problem. Women have endured unwanted advances, inappropriate touching to downright sexual assault, abuse, and rape for decades across generations.

Sexual harassment has occurred, and continues to occur, in the workplace—whether in a domestic environment, business, entertainment, government or the hallowed halls of legislative capitols.

The unending revelations taking place during the last several months, with women speaking out at an unprecedented rate, would make one think, possibly believe, at first blush that, finally something will change. That sexual exploitation will end. That women no longer need to tolerate unwanted sexual encounters to get a promotion, even just keep their job.

Is this a watershed moment? Or, is it news of the day or week until the next explosive incident moves it to the sideline? Perpetrators falling from grace, losing their jobs, public positions of respect, even acknowledging and apologizing for such gross behavior or facing criminal charges will not address the myriad of incidents that happen to women every day that remain hidden from view and go unreported.

On a broader scale it is a gross gender inequality problem—how men perceive women, and sadly how many women perceive themselves.

sexual harassment is an entrenched cultural problem

Sexual Harassment Is An Entrenched Cultural Problem. Photo Credit: legalinfo360.com

How has such behavior become so commonplace, so acceptable, and so pervasive? We are all responsible. There is blame to go around.

One would immediately say, the victim should not be blamed, even though there are those who do. But, we as a society share the blame in that we, both men and women, have turned a blind eye. We continue to do so by giving men tacit approval to behave badly toward women without suffering any repercussions. Sexual harassment is an entrenched cultural problem.

It begins when certain thoughts and practices are deliberately or inadvertently passed on to boys about how to treat girls. It is bolstered because girls often are not taught in definitive terms about what treatment they should expect, and more importantly, should not allow from boys or men. We as caring adults share the responsibility of teaching appropriate perceptions and behaviors.

Why have we in our silence, for decades, across generations, granted men such license to behave badly toward women? Until there is a concerted effort to train, train, and train—starting with our children at home, in schools, and then demanding that there is ongoing training in the workplace across industries, real change will continue to elude us.

In addition to training, there must be accountability and appropriate penalties enforced across the board, wherever and whenever an act of sexual harassment occurs.

Sexual harassment is an entrenched cultural problem in our society. Until we acknowledge that gender inequality is at the root of it and do something about it as parents, teachers, employers, and policymakers, it will continue as scandals come and go.

Feature Photo Credit: rape crises blog.wordpress.com

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Sexual Harassment Is An Entrenched Cultural Problem
Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, author, has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website under the headings of "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" and "Above & Beyond Race." Subscribe to the email Newsletter and get updates on the trending topics.

14 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    To me, this is not a man or woman issue, it’s a human issue. Sexual harassment has no boundaries and it sure does not belong in the workplace -or any other place for that matter. It causes nothing but problems and jeopardizes jobs, careers and reputations. Adults should conduct themselves like adults and act professional in the workplace. Now whatever they may mutually decide to do on their own time is their business.

  2. Lizzie Simpson says:

    It’s high time we work towards safe spaces. It’s a lot harder in the workplace, which is why we should all make an effort to condemn sexual harassment and advancement

  3. Psyche Atinen says:

    We should always check our community and company policies and enforcements of the law so as to successfully penalize those who harass us in any way. As for myself, my reputation in work will speak up for myself too on whether or not those perverts will dare harass me or any one at work, especially my subordinates.

  4. Reynold says:

    Indeed, sexual harassment is entrenched in culture because perception or how we view women is influenced by culture. This also explains why sexual harassment is more rampant in certain cultures and countries. That being the case, the education of people especially on sexuality and morality is of paramount importance in order to change misguided cultural perceptions, prevent misogyny and emancipate women.

  5. David Mureithi says:

    I will agree with you. Sexual harassment is barbaric and has no place in the modern society. However, you did phrase toward women being the victims, however, nowadays, there are cases of men being sexually harassed and is increasing. We should all condemn the act.

  6. AJ says:

    Sexual harassment is something we live at the moment. Every day, women are subjected to harsh social norms – like how they are supposed to act, feel, and think. The pressure is sometimes too much, and so by acting the way they are supposed to be, are then hit with harassment from men who are taught that women are such objects to ridicule and be made as subhumans depending on societal and cultural context. This has to stop.

    People must be taught that it is okay to do things, and that it is not okay to do others. I know that this is something of a difficult situation, considering that cultures around the world have different perspectives on how to treat women.But people must be taught that to be able to be happy, they should respect an individual, no matter what their gender might be. This is how change should begin.

  7. Nora says:

    I agree that we should not just blame the predators but also those who are doing nothing as well to a lesser degree. They are complicit as well, be it men or women.

  8. Maureen says:

    I believe everyone needs to be educated about sexual harassment both in the home and in the professional world.Definitely sexual harassment shouldn’t be condoned at any time.All forms of sexual harassment meted out to women by men should be eradicated. We have to start the fight today to have a better tomorrow.

  9. Jess's says:

    Sexual harassment should be stopped by all and life will be better.

  10. Odimdavid says:

    I don’t think gender inequality is at the root of it. Gender inequality only makes it worse. The gradual destruction of American moral fiber is what is at the root of the sexual harassment scandals and the metoo revelations that we are now witnessing. When every stakeholder, including the religious and cultural organizations begin to get morality and ethics training across to everyone in America, then we will see a change, along with bridging of the gender inequality gap.

  11. Sindey Moreno says:

    I think that women will keep making progress and hopefully, the next generations will enjoy the results, sexual harassment has been one of the worst nightmares and many times I have felt fear for the women in my family.

  12. Angelo Perez says:

    I’m sad that this article on sexual harassment is solely women-centric. Nowadays, I don’t think we could and should attribute gender inequality as the evil behind sexual harassment. There are a lot of cases where men are are victims of work-related sexual harassment. While the number of male victims are lesser than that of the female, we should still be wary that this is no longer an issue about which gender/sex is more superior. If you think about it, it’s more difficult more men to come out in the open and call out for help that they are sexually harassed. We should be more sensitive about these things…because from the looks of it, in the issue of sexual harassment, aren’t we looking down on the male victims when we simply focus our attention on women as victims, and men as the assailants?

    The core matter here is that we need to put a stop to those despicable superiors – male and female, who use their power and position to take advantage of their subordinates – male and female, just to satiate their needs.

  13. Enyi says:

    It is sad that in an era like this female sexual harassment is still in existence. I totally agree with you that we all need training and it must be now.All forms of sexual harassments against the womenfolks must stop.

  14. Vikram Parmar says:

    This is a problem which has to be dealt with firmly. The offenders need to be punished.

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