Silence is no longer an answer. With movements like #metoo and #timesup surfacing all over social media and popular television, many women are beginning to take a stand against sexual harassment. Dr. Ashton Lofgreen, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Rush University, explains that in the past, there’s been a perpetuated silence that discouraged women from speaking up, but now, people are recognizing that they are not alone in their experiences with sexual harassment. While many more women are opening up, there is still a lot of confusion behind what exactly constitutes sexual harassment.
So, how does one know if they have experienced sexual harassment? Dr. Cynthia Eller, Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University and author of The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future, thinks that there are some general rules to follow that can help one address whether an action is sexual harassment. Besides understanding specific behaviors, Dr. Emily Grijalva, Assistant Professor of Organization and Human Resources at University of Buffalo, says that there is also a type of person to look out for: a narcissist. In a study done by Dr. Grijalva and her male cohorts, they found that there is a positive connection between narcissism and sexual harassment. While these are a few ways to identify behaviors or traits often associated with sexual harassment, there are other ways too.
It is possible to measure the chances that someone will commit an act of sexual harassment. Dr. John Pryor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University, states that there is a test that measures the willingness that an individual may have to behave in a sexually coercive or exploitative manner, to make gestures that are categorized as unwanted sexual attention, or participate in gender harassment. Despite the fact that these behaviors can be measured, issues of sexual harassment often slide under the radar, many times due to non-disclosure agreements and arbitration clauses that do not permit people to pursue cases within a court, according to Dr. Grijalva.
With the increase in which sexual harassment claims are being made, many people wonder about the possibility of these efforts going awry. But Dr. Lofgreen believes that these claims are fear-based and possibly another way of reinforcing the status quo that it’s better to not talk about these cases of sexual harassment. Similarly, Dr. Eller thinks that as long as a witch hunt is avoided, many people associated with these evolving movements will only benefit from coming forward.
- Dr. Ashton Lofgreen, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Rush University
- Dr. Cynthia Eller, Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University add author of The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future
- Dr. Emily Grijalva, Assistant Professor of Organization and Human Resources at University of Buffalo
- Dr. John Pryor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University