Stop Violence Against Women
Sexual Harassment





2. How Common is Sexual Harassment?

It is difficult to establish the extent to which sexual harassment occurs in the workplace.  Many studies indicate that sexual harassment is widespread and that it takes a serious toll on women's lives and careers.  On the other hand, critics point out that such studies elicit responses only from those persons who have experienced sexual harassment and that such incidence rates may be inflated. 

Others counter that rates of sexual harassment may actually be underreported because many women are conditioned to accept harassing behavior as joking or compliments, and they don't report it either in questionnaires or at work.  Increasingly, however, women are recognizing harassment as illegal, reporting it and seeking remedies.  At the same time, men and women are coming to agree on the definition of harassment.

Even taking into account the methodological concerns described above, surveys and other studies leave no doubt that sexual harassment is a widespread and continuing problem in workplaces and in educational institutions.  It transcends occupational and professional categories, age groups, educational backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups, and income levels and affects everyone.

Data from the United States on the extent of sexual harassment [internal link], likewise, indicate that the problem is still widespread in the workplace and educational institutions.

For example, Equal Rights Advocates, a women’s law center in the U.S. which specializes in issues of sex-based discrimination has complied a list of statistics about sexual harassment in the workplace which give some insight into the magnitude of the problem as well as the impact it has on women victims.

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