What do polls tell us about sexual
harassment? When women are asked whether they have ever experienced harassment,
polls give us responses ranging from a low of 42 percent in one poll to a high
of 60 percent in another. Fewer, around 30 percent of women in recent polls, say
that they have been sexually harassed at work. There is positive news in a new
survey: A large majority think their workplaces take the issue very seriously.
That’s important because around two-thirds believe that recent
allegations against high profile men indicate a widespread problem in society,
and not isolated incidences. For the most part, men and women agree on what
constitutes harassment, though in most cases men are less likely to call a
behavior harassment than women are. Lewd, aggressive, or threatening behavior is
clearly seen as harassment; flirtatious actions less so. When an issue catches
fire like this one has, it’s important to take care in interpreting early poll
results, but the polls released thus far present a fairly consistent picture of
attitudes about harassment. What do you think about recent news stories about
sexual harassment? Are they isolated incidents, or are they more widespread?
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