Sexual Harassment: Not Much Has Changed in the Last 10 Years

A study of sexual harassment statistics shows that the number of reported cases of sexual harassment have remained almost the same in 2020 as they were in 2012.

Even with all the advances our society has made, Sexual harassment is one of the most underreported crimes in the US. While the scenario has changed over the last few decades,  and the situation is not as bad as it used to be, there is still a lot left to do.

EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, defines sexual harassment as requests for favors of sexual nature, other physical or verbal advances of sexual nature, and unwelcome sexual advances either in a school or a workplace.

sexual harassment statistics

The word ‘unwelcome’ does not translate to involuntary, as depending upon their circumstances, a victim may agree to the sexual advances even though they find it offensive. [1]

With societal stigma, many people are still unwilling to report sexual harassment. This exacerbates an already bad situation. The actual figures can vary drastically from the statistics that we have uncovered, but we believe even these are enough for people to sit up and take notice.

Some Key Facts About Sexual Harassment

  • According to EEOC, 11,497 charges of sex-based harassment were filed in the fiscal year 2020, including charges of sexual harassment allegations. 6,587 charges of sexual harassment allegations were filed in the fiscal year 2020, out of which males filed 16.8 percent of the charges.  [2]
  • According to the combined data from FEPAs and EEOC, 11,364 charges of sexual harassment were filed in the fiscal year 2011, out of which 16.3 percent of the charges were filed by males. Thus, it seems that the situation has not much changed in the last ten years[3]
  • According to a poll in March 2019, 70% of women consider workplace sexual harassment as a major problem, but only 53% of men agree with them. [6]
  • The percentage of women in the previous survey who say they were sexually harassed is 48% which is 6% more than in the year 2017. About 61% of women and 46% of men feel that people are not sensitive enough about the sexual harassment problem in the workplace. [6]
sexual harassment statistics

Sexual Harassment And Sexual Assault Statistics

Forms of Sexual Harassment

  • According to the survey of  non-profit organizations Stop Street harassment and Raliance, in the year 2018, about 81% of women and 43% of men have undergone some form of harassment of sexual nature in their lifetime. [5]
  • According to the same survey in 2018, the most common form of sexual harassment women face is verbal sexual harassment which is about 77%. The second most common sexual harassment that women face is unwelcome sexual touch. About 51%, 41% of women face cyber sexual harassment, 34% of being followed by someone physically, 30% of women face unwanted flashing of genitals, and sexual assault, which is 27%. [5]
  • About 34% of males faced verbal sexual harassment making it the most common type of sexual harassment. Cyber sexual harassment comes second with 22%, 17% of men met unwelcome sexual touch,12% of men were followed by someone physically, 12% of unwanted flushing of genitals, and about 7% faced sexual assault. [5]

Sexual Harassment and Disability

  • Disabled men and women are more likely to experience sexual harassment and assault. According to a report, 69% of women with a disability and 59% without a disability have experienced sexual harassment. [5]
  • 40% of disabled women have experienced sexual assault, while 23% of women who have no disability have experienced sexual assault. [5]
  • 39% of men with disability and 23% of men without a disability have experienced sexual harassment. [5]
  • 18% of men with a disability and 4% of men without a disability experienced sexual assault. [5]
sexual harassment statistics

Sexual Harassment and LGBTQ

  • Women and men from the LGBT community are more likely to experience sexual assault. 48% of bisexual or lesbian women have experienced sexual assault, while 25% of straight women experienced sexual assault. 
  • 42% man from the LGBT community and 25% of straight men experienced sexual harassment. About 19 % of men from the LGBT community and 6% of straight men experienced sexual assault. [5]

Sexual Harassment and Poverty

  • 36% of women and 16% of men who live below the poverty level are more likely to experience sexual assault. [5]

Sexual Harassment by Location

  • 66% of women have been sexually harassed in public places, 38% of women at work, and 35% at their residence. 19% of men were sexually harassed in a public place, 14% in their school, and 13% in their workplace. [5]
  • 29% of women and 17% of men report residence or private home as where they first experienced sexual harassment or assault. 37% of women and 29% main reported a public space as the location where they first experienced sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • According to AAU, the Association of American Universities’s survey on sexual assault and misconduct on campus, about 13% of the students claim to have faced sexual harassment. [8]
sexual harassment statistics

Who Harasses Whom?

  • One or more men have sexually harassed 85% of women and 44% of men. One or more women have sexually harassed about 30% of men and 3% of women. [5]
  • The perpetrator in the case of sexual harassment is most likely a stranger, and in the case of sexual assault, it is someone known, whether a family member, friend, or partner [5]
  • Women of age 25 to 34 are more likely to experience sexual harassment as compared to other age groups. Men within the age group 25 to 49 are more likely to experience sexual harassment. [5]

Sexual Harassment by Age

  • About 57% of women said that they experienced sexual harassment and assault by 17. 37% of women reported the first experience of sexual harassment at the age of 14 to 17 years old. 
  • About 42% of men said that they experienced sexual harassment and assault by the age of 17. 20% of men reported the first experience of sexual harassment at the age of 14 to 17 years old. [5]
  • 71% of women and 57% of men experienced their first sexual harassment or assault by the age of 22 years old. [5]
sexual harassment statistics

Sexual Harassment in Recent Years & By Generation

  • About one-eighth of all women and men who have experienced sexual harassment or assault have faced it in the last six months. [5]
  • According to a YouGov survey, every 6 in 10 women admit to being sexually harassed by a man, with the harassment happening in the past five years to one-third of these women. About 16% of men admit to being sexually harassed by men, with just 7% reporting that the harassment happened in the past five years. [7]
  • According to a survey, 9% of women of the baby boomer generation, 28% of the Gen X generation, and 38% of millennials have been victims of sexual harassment. [7]
  • About 52% of the women interviewed by YouGov said that someone commented on their attractiveness while speaking to them, 44% said that someone said sexual jokes to them, 39% said that someone cat-called them, and 46% had their breasts looked upon. According to the same survey, just 43% of men consider looking at women’s breasts sexual harassment. [7]

How People Respond to Experiencing Sexual Assault or Harassment

  • 23% of females and 12% of males diverted their regular route or routine when they experienced sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • Approximately 5% of females and 2.5% of males stopped an activity or hobby or participating in religious groups or communities after facing sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • 15% of females and 12% of males choose to end a friendship or relationship after facing sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • Less than 2% of females and approximately 1% of males opt to change or drop out of school or university or leave a course after facing sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • 31% of females and 20% of males experienced anxiety or depression after they faced sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • Less than 2% of females and males confronted the perpetrator after they faced sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • About 9% of women and 5% of men either quit or change their job after facing sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • Nearly 5% of women and 2% of men moved from their residence after sexual harassment or assault. [5]
  • Approximately 7% of women and 4% of men took medical help, including counseling, after facing sexual harassment or assault. [5]
sexual harassment statistics

Sexual Harassment : How Many People Report It?

  • According to the American psychological association, in organizations with women in senior positions, 56% of employees who have undergone sexual harassment and 55% of employees who witnessed sexual harassment will report it, and 53% of employees are likely to confront a coworker who is sexually harassing someone else.  [4]
  • While in organizations with men in senior positions, 39% of employees will report sexual harassment happening to them, 41% will report sexual harassment if they witnessed it, and 34% will confront a coworker who is sexually harassing someone else. [4]
  • At organizations that have taken steps to address sexual harassment, about 90% of employees said their psychological health was in good condition. 76% said their employer offers resources to help them with their mental health, and 63% said their employer provides resources for stress management. 86% of employees are highly satisfied with their job, 89% are motivated for the best performance, and 79% recommend their organization as a good workplace. [4]
  • With people becoming aware of sexual harassment and the Me Too movement, employees are becoming more open to reporting it. About 50% of workers in the USA will report sexual harassment if they ever experience it, 51% if the witness hit, and about 47% will confront a coworker who is sexually harassing someone. [4]
sexual harassment statistics

A Few Final Words

Sexual harassment is a serious issue that is undermined by many. People experiencing and witnessing it are too scared to speak up. While doing my research, I became aware of facts that I would never have expected.

I hope reading the facts about sexual harassment was an eye-opener for you and made you aware of the topic.

References