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Sexual harassment has a number of motivations, say psychologists

A recent spat of misconduct allegations in the news has focused attention on the behavior of men in the workplace. Although sexual harassment is not limited to men harassing women, it is statistically more common. In a recent news report, three psychologists explain why men harass women in the workplace, which California readers may find enlightening. 

The psychologists say that men harass women who work in traditionally male fields as a way to protect their occupational territory. By using harassment, they are able to discourage women from participating or gaining power in the field. Many times, the behavior goes unpunished, even after it is reported, which can lead to an accepted culture of intimidation. 

Other men see a certain type of job as a tacit agreement of sexual objectification. Even if a woman uses her bodily assets in order to complete her job duties, this does not create a situation in which the woman agrees to be harassed. Other reasons that men may choose to act out inappropriate behaviors is a feeling of invincibility, or a tendency for exhibitionism. 

In California and elsewhere, sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law. Any person, male or female, who is found to be contributing to a hostile work environment can be held accountable, and any company that fails to address the behavior can be responsible, too. A person who has been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace may wish to consult with an attorney for input on how best to proceed with any potential legal case. 

Source: CNBC, "3 psychologists explain why men harass women in the workplace", Courtney Connley, Nov. 20, 2017

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