It was just another day at work for Shruti. As she walked towards her cubicle, she noticed Manish, her male colleague, staring at her. She tried to ignore it, thinking that it was just a passing glance. But as the day progressed, she noticed that Manish was constantly following her around the office, making inappropriate comments and trying to touch her inappropriately.
Shruti was shocked and disgusted. She had always thought of Manish as a well-educated and respectful colleague. But now, she realized that his education and position in the company had not prevented him from harassing her. She knew that she had to take action before things got worse.
Unfortunately, Shruti’s experience is not unique. According to a survey conducted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), 41% of women in the workplace experience some form of sexual harassment. This statistic is alarming, especially considering that many of these women work in professional environments with highly educated colleagues.
So, what is the psychology behind sexual harassment in the workplace, especially among well-educated men like Manish? Let’s dive deeper into this issue and try to understand it.
The Psychology of Sexual Harassment
There is no single cause of sexual harassment, as it is a complex and multifaceted issue. However, there are certain psychological factors that can contribute to this behaviour.
One such factor is power. Many harassers use their position of power to intimidate and control their victims. This is often the case in the workplace, where a supervisor or colleague may use their seniority or influence to harass their subordinates.
Another factor is the sense of entitlement. This can arise when an individual believes that they are entitled to certain privileges or treatment, which includes sexually harassing their colleagues. This sense of entitlement may be reinforced by cultural or social factors that promote gender stereotypes and objectify women.
Moreover, some individuals may use sexual harassment as a means of expressing their aggression or hostility towards their victims. They may see it as a way to assert their dominance or assert their masculinity.
What Can Be Done?
To combat sexual harassment in the workplace, it is essential to raise awareness and educate people about this issue. This includes providing training programs to help employees understand what sexual harassment is and how to identify it.
Moreover, it is crucial to have strict policies and guidelines in place to prevent sexual harassment. Companies should have a clear and transparent process for reporting incidents of sexual harassment, and they should take prompt and appropriate action to investigate and address any complaints.
Additionally, companies should work towards creating a culture of respect and inclusivity. This means fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their gender or other characteristics. It also means promoting gender equality and addressing any gender biases that may exist within the workplace.
Sexual harassment is a widespread issue that affects many women in the workplace. Despite being well-educated and in positions of power, some men still engage in this behaviour. It is essential to understand the psychology behind sexual harassment and work towards creating a safe and inclusive workplace environment. By raising awareness, implementing strict policies and guidelines, and promoting respect and inclusivity, we can create a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.