Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Female Circumcision is a Female Idea

I learned about the following, from a link on Angry Harry's website:
"It took a death threat to stop Abdi’s wife from circumcising their two daughters, aged 2 and 4. She called him from Somalia while on holiday to say she wanted to carry out the procedure.

"Abdi, a London-based Somali, said that his wife’s eagerness to circumcise their daughters was fuelled by a combination of religious, cultural and tribal pressures placed on her after she took the girls to Somalia for a brief summer break last year.

"But he refused to be swayed, despite his wife’s argument that the girls would improve their chances of attracting a good husband because they would be perceived as being more traditional and pure.

“I told my wife and her mother — who was really eager to have my girls circumcised — that if they dare do it, I will kill my wife,” he said. “And I also said I will take the girls to the GP when they return from Somalia to make sure that they didn’t have it done to them.”

"Abdi, 29, is one of a growing number of African men opposing female circumcision because of the psychological and physiological effects it has on its victims. “It is women who believe in the concept as their duty to look after their children,” said Abdi, who is also aware of prospective mother-in-laws examining their sons’ future brides to ensure they are circumcised.

"Women “fear that if they don’t circumcise their daughters then they won’t be able to get them married”, he said.

“I know many men who work very hard — and at times make serious threats to their wives — to make sure their girls don’t get circumcised,” he added."

Ahh. . . so the mothers-in-law are the pivotal culprits in that game. Wouldn't ya know it?

Well. Hurrah for those MEN who are working very hard to put a stop to such things!

Ain't that right, feminists? Ain't that right?

Feminists? Feminists????

Oh my! I am hearing a lot of silence. . . . . . . .

Oh very well! Go on and scream MISOGYNY because I called out something bad about women! You know goddamn well you want to say that, so say it!! I ain't afraid o' no big bad M word! Try me! Go on, bitch! I double-dog dare ya! TRY ME!!!

Or. . . can it be. . . . that you DON'T HONESTLY CARE about female circumcision at all, if men are not shown to be the guilty parties. . .?


All right, then I would advise you to completely ignore the part about female circumcision, and shine your spotlight exclusively upon those men who are making death threats, so it turns into a narrative about patriarchal violence against women!

There. See how easy that was?

Ahhhh.....what a relief!

Here is the article in its native habitat:

Foreskin Facecream

Foreskin Face Cream and Other Beauty Products of the Future
By Amanda Euringer, The Tyee. Posted February 9, 2007.

And it's not the only body part on the chopping block that is available for the cause of vanity. But is it ethical?

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in The Tyee.
The flesh trade isn't as elusive as people might think. Like porn, human body parts are easily available online for the right price. The Coriell Institute is only one of dozens of websites that offer foreskin fibroblast for sale. On its website, I put a foreskin fibroblast in a shopping cart and called its office, where a perky customer representative informed me that I can buy the flakes for a cost of $85.00 -- plus shipping and handling. In the end, I didn't buy, but it surprised me to find out how easily I could have.
That's because foreskin fibroblasts are big business. A fibroblast is a piece of human skin that is used as a culture to grow other skin or cells -- like human yogurt kits. Human foreskin fibroblast is used in all kinds of medical procedures from growing skin for burn victims and for eyelid replacement, to growing skin for those with diabetic ulcers (who need replacement skin to cover ulcers that won't heal), to making creams and collagens in the cosmetics industry (yes, the product that is injected into puffy movie-starlet lips).

One foreskin can be used for decades to produce miles of skin and generate as much as $100,000 -- that's not the fee from a one-time sale, but the fees from the fibroblasts that are created from those original skin cells.

One of the most publicized examples of the foreskin-for-sale trend involves a skin cream that has been promoted by none other than Oprah Winfrey. SkinMedica, a face cream, which costs over $100 for a 0.63-oz. bottle, is used by many high-profile celebrities (such as Winfrey and Barbara Walters) as an alternative to cosmetic surgery. Winfrey has promoted the SkinMedica product several times on her show, and her website, which raves about "a new product that boosts collagen production and can rejuvenate skin called TNS Recovery Complex. TNS is comprised from six natural human growth factors found in normal healthy skin ... the factors are engineered from human foreskin!"

On Winfrey’s show, the doctor promoting SkinMedica cream warned that some people may have ethical questions regarding using a product that is made from the derivative of foreskins (to which Winfrey made no response). Why ethical questions? The foreskins come from circumcisions, and male circumcision is now a controversial topic. In a discussion on, one querent asked, "If the cream was made from the bi-product of baby Afro-American clitoral skin, would Oprah still be promoting it?" There's no answer to that question on Mothering or Winfrey's site, and Winfrey declined a request for an interview for this article.

Beauty engineering

Using foreskin fibroblast for medically necessary procedures generates less controversy than using it for optional "beauty" treatments. So how does Dr. Fitzpatrick, who invented SkinMedica, defend his company?
To start with, he argues that using foreskin fibroblast to make cream is ethical, because the company does not put any actual human tissue in their products -- only the growth hormone left over from growing artificial skin (not actual tissue or skin cells). And he adds that the original company that supplied SkinMedica with the hormone grew cultures from a single foreskin donated 15 years earlier. That company made artificial skin for wound healing.

But that company went bankrupt. And Dr. Fitzpatrick, whose invention of this cream earned him the dubious honor of being named Allure magazine's "physician who has most influenced beauty," now works with a supplier that uses foreskin fibroblast to make injectable collagen. So the foreskins used to make the cream have only ever been used for "vanity" purposes.
Further in his defence, Fitzpatrick says that using foreskins in the first place was simply a matter of convenience. "It doesn't matter if you get a fibroblast from the eyelid, the cheek, the foot or the foreskin," Fitzgerald said in an interview for this article. "That cell is still a fibroblast; it does the same thing. Foreskins were used because that is a common surgery and the skin is thrown away, so why not use it for benefits? Twelve years ago when this was done, there would have been no objection to using foreskin tissue."

But Fitzpatrick acknowledged that using foreskins now is about more than convenience. Circumcision rates in Canada have dropped below 10 per cent, and they are dropping in the United States as well, which means that it will be more difficult to source them. And foreskin samples do eventually run out and need to be replaced. But Fitzpatrick said that although you can use technology to make the cell cultures from scratch, without foreskins, the process is "much more expensive."

Sourcing foreskins

Things have changed from the time when using foreskins was an objection-free endeavour. In fact, many websites are now dedicated to the preservation of baby foreskins, and long streams of discussion on mothering websites argue against the use of baby skin for cosmetics purposes. Vancouver is home to the Association for Genital Integrity, whose mandate is to end male circumcision.

I asked Dr. Fitzpatrick about using foreskins from older men instead who want to earn the purported $100,000 windfall. Apparently, it's a no-go. "Fibroblasts that are made from young skin are more active than fibroblast from a 60- or 70-year-old," he said. "The skin reproduces better in young tissue; you are using that cell as a factory ... eventually the tissue samples need to be refreshed ... a young cell produces more and lasts longer."

Newborn tissue is particularly valuable, not only because of its vitality, but also because it is usually guaranteed to be healthy. Tissue for medical use obviously needs to be free from disease.

Ethical pain

Fitzpatrick adds that foreskin tissue has been the easiest tissue to access -- ethically -- up till now, "because you are not having to use stem cells or fetal tissue in order to still get young tissue."

Neocutis is another face cream -- but this one uses cells grown from a terminated fetus to make the product, something the company documents on its website. Neocutis declined a request for an interview for this article.
Dr. Nikhil Mehta, director of product development for SkinMedica, spoke about his opinion of Neocutis, their competitor. "They are actually taking cells, literally chopping up the cells, and putting them in cream."
Another page on the Neocutis website describes how they harvested the tissue of a terminated two-month-old fetus "in the period of scarless wound healing." It is out of this tissue that they developed the cell culture used in creating their special "bio restorative skin cream" with their patented secret ingredient.

Myth of scarlessness

Dr. Fitzpatrick explained why they would want to use fetal tissue: There is a period during neonatal development where wounds will heal without scarring. He said no one really understands why the cells are scar-free at that time, but that even so, there are no scar reduction benefits to be gained by using them -- those properties aren't transferable: "To take cells at that age and imply that you can have that happen to an adult is incorrect. No one has shown that to be correct; if there was some reason to believe that could occur, it would be a very hot topic."
Dr. Mehta was asked how much tissue Neocutis would need to "harvest" from a two-month-old fetus in order to develop a cell culture, since this kind of skin can grow for years. "You don't need very much. Think of how small a baby foreskin is. Maybe the amount of skin that is on the tip of a finger."

This didn’t sound so bad, until I went with my six-year-old daughter to Body Worlds 3, an anatomy exhibition with approximately 200 real human specimens, in the hope of giving her an interesting medical lesson. I found myself standing in front of some plastinated fetuses, and their tiny features were drawn into expressions one might imagine on a puppy having a bad dream. The two-month-old fetus is perfectly formed; a small spine curves its back. Tiny fingers curl. It is barely an inch long. Neocutis would have to use the whole thing.

In a moment of panic, I wondered if I had deeply scarred my six-year-old by bringing her to the exhibit. In this world where doctors can make art shows out of human flesh -- ostensibly in the name of science -- how can we judge pharmaceutical companies who chop up unwanted fetuses, or grow cells from foreskins, to put on our faces?

As I tried to formulate some words to discuss the topic, my daughter -- young though she is -- caught sight of my face and pulled me away, saying gently, "Mommy, don't look if it makes you upset."

Foreskin Face Cream and Other Beauty Products of the Future | Environment | AlterNet

A Kinder, More Genital Nation

A Kinder, More Genital Nation
Frederic Hayward
Spectator, April 9-15, 1993
In case you think that Playboy is just a lot of naked women sandwiched between advice on wine, fashion and stereo components, you should also know that Playboy Enterprises takes its politics very seriously. Both editorially through the magazine and financially through the Playboy Foundation, the organization is an activist one. The right to control one's body and the freedom to enjoy one's sexuality are among their highest priorities.
Each monthly issue has at least one piece supporting a woman's sovereignty over her body, and the Playboy Foundation devotes a large chunk of its coffers to protecting that right. Yet, over one million Americans every year are subjected to nonconsensual, life-scarring surgery, all without medical necessity, and the only response Playboy has offered is an occasional chuckle.
This is not just any surgery, mind you. This is genital mutilation or, more specifically, the amputation of a few thousand erogenous nerve endings. Indeed, the acknowledged goal behind its popularization in America was specifically to deprive its victims of enough sexual pleasure so as to discourage them from masturbating.
That is, routine circumcision is a combined and clear violation of some of the most important tenets of the Playboy Philosophy. For Playboy to ignore that violation, something must be keeping it in a state of denial.
Playboy, unfortunately, is not the only resident ofthat state. Children's rights agencies, packed with crusaders who protect little children from physical harm, outraged especially by sexual attacks on children, and wielding powerful laws that specifically bar the infliction of pain and injury upon children, are comfortable neighbors of Playboy in the state of denial.
Insurance companies and health care reformers demand that unnecessary medical expenses be eliminated, yet they wink at the hundreds of millions of your wasted dollars which fund the circumcision industry.
What, then, are the psychological barriers that keep Playboy and others from confronting the issue of circumcision?
First, circumcision is a men's issue, if only because 100% of its American victims are male. So, all those factors which usually induce us to deny the validity of men's issues also operate here.
The traditional message that it is unmanly to complain blends nicely with the feminist message that men don't deserve to complain. The traditional message that men must protect women blends nicely with the feminist message that helping men is equivalent to hurting women. The effect of this blend is that men feel uncomfortable just thinking about men's issues, let alone talking about them..
Male pain is the only pain which actually brings laughter and applause.
Another factor is that the ubiquitous sight of male pain desensitizes us to it. Violence against males is literally all around us. In the media, it is a staple of entertainment, with men comprising over 90% of the victims on television. Relevant, too, is the context of the violence. When a woman is the victim, it is usually the "bad guy" who commits it, reinforcing our mindset that violence against women is always wrong. The main purpose of the portrayal is to get the audience angry enough that it will watch the rest of the story to see to it that the villain is punished for his transgression. Of the "justified" and approved violence in entertainment, the percentage directed against men is even higher than 90%.
Even more poignant, men are the victims of virtually all violence in comedy. Male pain is the only pain which actually brings laughter and applause. Moreover, attacks on male sexuality are the "funniest" of all. If a kick to the groin is a guaranteed formula for laughter, is it so surprising that a scalpel to the groin does not arouse mass sympathy?
Although it is politically correct to dismiss the importance of violence against men, the preponderance of male victims in the media is mirrored by a preponderance of male victims in real life.
Committed to ignoring violence against men, Senator Joe Biden held hearings for two years on his "Violence Against Women Act" (which makes violence against women a more serious crime than violence against men) without ever discovering that the female victim is more stereotype than reality. The Bureau of justice Statistics reports that males age 12 and older are 76% more likely than females to be victims of violent crimes. Men are three times more likely to be victims of homicide. (The Bureau also asserts that women who are raped are actually among the more likely victims of violent crime to report their victimization.).
We are so desensitized to violence against the male body that, only for men, does real violence overlap with entertainment. Given the protest against simple portrayals of violence against women, imagine the howls of anger if real women were really beaten into real bloody unconsciousness, and it was broadcast on network television as entertainment. Think about that the next
time you watch a boxing match. I was once talking with a stranger in a hotel lobby. I told him that I was in town to speak about circumcision, and gave him a little preview of my talk. He became agitated, exclaiming, "How can we do this to our own children!?!" I reminded him that we don't do it to our "children"... We do it to our boys. There's a big difference.
Charities that want you to sponsor children overseas show twice as many little girls as little boys in their ads. They know that people rush to the aid of girls, but don't respond as readily to the plight of little boys.
A third factor keeping us from confronting circumcision is opposition by the very movement which is supposed to demand attention to gender issues. Like the archetypal southern sheriff who left a victimized black with nowhere to turn because the sheriff himself was a racist, the Equal Rights enforcement industry leaves us with nowhere to turn because it itself is sexist.
When it comes to boys, these spokespeople remain silent.
Their record at vehemently and successfully opposing unnecessary operations upon women is well documented. One bill to ensure that hysterectomies never be performed unless proven to be absolutely necessary passed the California legislature unanimously.
If we were circumcising little girls instead of little boys, it would have been outlawed long ago. Indeed, throughout the United Nations and within the United States. Concerned American institutions are actively fighting against female circumcision (which we don't have) even as they ignore male circumcision (which we do have).
When it comes to boys, these spokespeople remain silent. One professional feminist, knowledgeable about research into the learning process of pre-borns (let alone newborns) and a ready advocate against sexual abuse, tried to squirm her way out of the issue by suggesting: "How do we really know that there is any long-term memory of this?" Yet, this woman would be the first to prosecute a dentist who fondled an unconscious patient, or, even worse, a man who masturbated into the face of an infant girl. The whole issue of "memory" is a red herring.
While being solicited by a recruiter for a children's rights group, I engaged her in a conversation about circumcision. She blandly said that she didn't really care about it, since it hadn't happened to her. So much for the sexist stereotype, proclaimed by traditionalists and feminists alike, that women are more empathetic than men.
Still, circumcision is a very special men's issue, for even many men's rights advocates themselves are in deep denial over it. One member of Men's Rights, Inc., searching desperately for an excuse to rationalize the operation, actually assured me that he is glad he was circumcised and feels less sexual pleasure because, now, he is less vulnerable to premature ejaculation!
If numbing his penis were his goal, wouldn't using a condom be a more obvious and logical route, with the added benefit of protection against disease and pregnancy? How could this highly moral do-unto-others- type of guy condone unnecessary surgery and the infliction of physical and emotional trauma upon millions of innocent American boys, just to make it a shade less likely that he will prematurely ejaculate? Hell, he could wear 5 condoms and probably never ejaculate!
Men are not taught the same sense of sovereignty over our bodies which women learn.
Clearly, beyond the normal denial over men's issues, there is a very special denial when it comes to circumcision. It, more than most men's issues, involves our own bodies, and men are not taught the same sense of sovereignty over our bodies which women learn.
Beginning when most of us are strapped down and circumcised to inaugurate our own lives, through childhood when we are deprived of the same rights of privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms that are granted to our female schoolmates, and culminating in the ritual end of boyhood when we march our bodies to the post office and register them with the Selective Service System, American males are continually, reminded that our bodies do not have the same rights enjoyed by the female body.
Girls are taught that a gentle caress might be legitimate grounds for complaint, while boys are taught that an occasional unwanted punch in the face is to be accepted. In a recent episode of NBC's sitcom "Wings," Joe's nose is broken by a man who mistakenly thinks his wife is having an affair with Joe. Although the entire "humorous" episode evolved around this assault, no character at any time suggested that Joe report the crime to the police and file charges; violence is just an expected part of life as a male.
Never underestimate the power of misandry (hatred of men) in our society.
The reasons for psychological denial about circumcision go even farther. By the time a man is old enough to think about men's issues, he is too old to be a potential victim of involuntary circumcision. Men might be as empathetic as women but, like women, we are more sympathetic toward women than toward other men.
Never underestimate the power of misandry (hatred of men) in our society. Our confidence in the very survival of our society depends upon maintaining a pool of men who, should the need arise, are willing to kill other men in our behalf. The ability to kill another human being upon command, however, does not come easily. It must be nurtured through years of misandrist indoctrination.
Moreover, circumcision is not just violence toward men; it is violence toward the penis. While "penis envy" is now a cliché, "penis hatred" is rarely mentioned, yet is at least as significant.
Even before the current war against male sexuality, men were getting negative messages about the penis. Women were told that public nudity is a no-no because men are so attracted to the female body that naked women would incite uncontrollable mobs of eager men. Men, on the other hand, were told that the law prohibits public nudity because the sight of their bodies incites horror and disgust in women.
There are few concepts more damaging to self-image than learning that your body is terrifying and revolting. Men's Rights, Inc., was once contacted by a Missouri man who had a radio program on men's issues. He called because he wanted to do a show on the penis (in literature, health issues, self image, etc.) but his boss would not permit it. The penis is offensive, the station manager opined.
While the vagina and clitoris are not offensive,
the penis is offensive, the station manager explained.
The man had mentioned his disappointment to women at the station, who volunteered that their women's shows often speak about the vagina and clitoris. He had returned to the station manager and asked why talk about the vagina and clitoris was allowed, but talk about the penis was forbidden. While the vagina and clitoris are not offensive, the penis is offensive, the station manager explained.
Our friend then mentioned his latest disappointment to his female colleagues, who told him that they talk about the penis on their own shows. He questioned the station manager about this newest double standard, and was informed that the penis is offensive when a man talks about it, but not necessarily when a woman talks about it.
Another barrier to effective communication about circumcision is that many pro-intact advocates are confused about their opposition. Rosemary Romberg, founder of Gentle Beginnings, criticizes circumcision as an attack by men (namely, doctors) upon women (namely, mothers), with the agenda being to weaken the maternal protective instinct and sabotage mother-child bonding. To her and, apparently, to most of the activists at an international conference on circumcision, the involuntary unnecessary circumcision of boys is a patriarchal attack upon women.
There is a problem with politically correct warfare against the patriarchy. The problem is that we don't live in one. Our own society is far more complex than that, with matriarchal strains running everywhere. For example, it is almost impossible for an unwed father to win custody of his child from a stranger that the mother designates, let alone prevail over the mother herself. If this were a patriarchy, a father's right to his children would be direct, and would not depend upon his first establishing a legal relationship with the matriarch.
Similarly, if this were a patriarchy, it would be sperm donors rather than surrogate mothers who had the right to seek custody of their offspring. And, if this were a patriarchy, the Amerasian children born in Vietnam would have had no difficulty entering our country. Their legal obstacle was not that they were half-American, but rather that it was the wrong half; children born of American mothers overseas are automatically citizens. The list continues.
My father's penis... I was far more disturbed by its difference in size
than comforted by the similarity of its mutilation.
Because of all these barriers to logical thought, excuses that people use for circumcising their sons can verge on the ridiculous. Some people actually justify surgery in order to make their son "look like" his father. Frankly, I never spent that much time looking at my father's penis and, the one or two times I happened to see it, I was far more disturbed by its difference in size than comforted by the similarity of its mutilation. Furthermore, I didn't spend a lot of time looking at my father's clothing and appearance. Why don't pro-scalpel parents dress their sons the same as their fathers and shave their little heads when those fathers go bald ... to save the poor boys' dismay at not "looking like" their fathers?
Besides the physical complications inherent in any surgery (infections, permanent and painful scarring, sex change operations necessitated by botched amputations of the penis, and even death), there is untold emotional trauma. We know that children learn even at the young age of the circumcision victim and we know that childhood traumas can be the most difficult to resolve. What inevitable lessons do boys learn about their sexuality and about the world when they are strapped down and, despite their
screams of helpless terror, a stranger slices their genitals?
Circumcision is not at the top of the list of men's issues only because even more serious men's problems have been allowed to fester and grow. But, if it were done to girls instead of boys, it would certainly be near the top of the list of women's issues.
Men are now beginning to develop ...outrage over the violation of their bodies
...and express that outrage.
Risky, painful, unnecessary surgery perpetrated upon millions of unwilling female victims would be stopped. Sexual assault, culminating in irreversible mutilation and the amputation of a protective and pleasurable organ, would be stopped. Denying women the right to make a fundamental and personal choice about their own bodies and, instead, giving the power of decision to people who have absolutely no personal stake would be stopped.
Men are now beginning to develop the same sense of outrage over the violation of their bodies that women feel, and equally important, men are beginning to express that outrage. Even though the victims are "only males," it is time to join the rest of the industrialized Western world and halt this primitive but profitable ritual.

Men and sexual harassment....a collection

Sexual harassment is unwelcome attention of a sexual nature and is a form of legal and social harassment. It includes a range of behavior from seemingly mild transgressions and annoyances to actual sexual abuse or sexual assault. (Dziech et al 1990, Boland 2002) Sexual harassment is considered a form of illegal discrimination in many countries, and is a form of abuse (sexual and psychological) and bullying.
The term sexual harassment was in use in women's groups in the Boston area before 1973 and appeared in discussions and a working paper at MIT by mid-1973. It has been suggested that the term "sexual harassment" was coined in 1974 at Cornell University, (Patai, pp. 17-19) but it seems likely that a kind of "zeitgeist" spread this term in the early 70's and that a number of people have (reasonably) thought they coined the concept. A major figure in helping the US to understand that harassment of a sexual nature might be illegal was Catherine MacKinnon, (see the wikipedia entry) writing in the late 1970's.

The United States Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas, and Anita Hill's testimony,helped to bring the issue of sexual harassment to national attention in the U.S. For many businesses, preventing sexual harassment, and defending its managerial employees from sexual harassment charges, have become key goals of legal decision-making. In contrast, many scholars complain that sexual harassment in education remains a "forgotten secret," with educators and administrators refusing to admit the problem exists in their schools, or accept their legal and ethical responsibilities to deal with it. (Dziech, 1990)


Sexual harassment in the workplace

Approximately 15,000 sexual harassment cases are brought to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) each year. Media and government surveys estimate the percentage of women being sexually harassed in the U.S. workplace at 40 to 60%. The European women's lobby reports that between 40 and 50% of female employees have experienced some form of sexual harassment or unwanted sexual behavior in the workplace.[1] While the majority of sexual harassment complaints come from women, the number of complaints filed by men is rapidly increasing. In FY 2007, 16% of EEOC complaints were filed by men with 11% of claims involving men filing against female supervisors.[2][3][4] A 2006 government study in the United Kingdom revealed that 2 out of 5 sexual harassment victims are male, with 8% percent of all sexual harassment complaints to the Equal Opportunities Commission (Britain's EEOC), coming from men.[5] A 2007 study in Hong Kong reported that one third of sexual harassment victims are males being targeted by female supervisors.[6] 'It affects both women and men, causing stress, health problems and financial penalties when they leave their jobs to avoid it,' said Jenny Watson, chair of the EOC.[5]

Sexual harassment in education

A 2002 study of students in the 8th through the 11th grade by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) revealed that 83% of girls have been sexually harassed, and 78% of boys have been sexually harassed. The American Association of College Women states that sexual harassment starts as early as preschool.[7] In their 2006 study on sexual harassment at colleges and universities, the AAUW reported that 62% of female college students and 61% of male college students report having been sexually harassed at their university, with 80% of the reported harassment being peer-to-peer. 51% of male college students admit to sexually harassing someone in college, with 22% admitting to harassing someone often or occasionally. 31% percent of female college students admitted to harassing someone in college.[8] In a 2000 national survey conducted for the AAUW, it was reported that roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sexual abuse or harassment by a public school employee, such as a teacher or coach, between 1991 and 2000. In a major 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 10 percent of U.S. public school students were shown to have been targeted with unwanted sexual attention by school employees.[9]In their 2002 study, the AAUW reported that 38% percent of the students were sexually harassed by teachers or school employees.
However, it is important to acknowledge that statistics do not give a complete picture of the pervasiveness of the problem as most sexual harassment situations go unreported. (Boland 2002, Dzeich 1990)
Sexual harassment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Numbers on Wiki showing that it is a problem men face, too.

The original article seems to be gone. I found 2 references on that article, luckily one posted the text in another forum:

Men victims of sexual harrassment

Men were more likely to be sexually harassed in the workplace than women, according to new academic research.

Behavioural scientists Dr Don Hine and Roberta Martin from the University of New England also found that men had greater difficulty coping with sexual harassment and were more likely to quit their job because of it than women.

The academics based their research on a questionnaire participants filled out anonymously that asked if they had been sexually harassed in the past year. It also asked participants to describe the type of the harassment they were subjected to. Participants were not asked the gender of the person who had harassed them.

"We found 88.7 per cent of males had experienced a form of sexual harassment in the past year compared to 82.5 per cent of females," Dr Hine said.

"What we found is that for both males and females, sexual harassment was associated with increased levels of psychological distress and decreased levels of job satisfaction," he said.

"However, sexual harassment is associated with increased intentions to quit one's jobs for males only. Men also neglect workplace tasks where females don't," Dr Hine said.

"Females may be coping better with sexual harassment in the workplace that males are but I would suggest most of the interventions put into place focus on sexual harassment of women."

Dr Hines said that women were probably more likely to discuss the harassment with their support network where men could fear ridicule if they mentioned the harassment to friends.

"I think sexual harassment of men in the workplace is something that has been overlooked," Dr Hine said.

"Sexual harassment is definitely a problem for both men and women but given our findings there should be a shift in focus to ensure men are adequately prepared to deal with this sort of stress in the workplace," said Dr Hine.

He said employees and managers of both genders also needed to be educated about what constituted sexual harassment, inappropriate comments and offensive behaviour.

The New England University research divided sexual harassment into three types.

? The first type involved being the butt of sexist jokes or the subject of inappropriate comments about physical appearance or offensive remarks about gender stereotypes.

? The second type involved unwanted sexual attention, being stared at in a way that caused discomfort, inappropriate touching and being romantically pursued despite actively discouraging the pursuer.

? The third type was the most serious and involved sexual coercion either in the form of being promised an job-related advantage in exchange for a sexual favour or being threatened in some work-related way if that sexual favour was not granted.

Dr Hine said the research found less than three per cent of participants were subjected to the most serious form of harassment and women were still more likely to be the victims than men.

The academics will present their research tomorrow at the 39th Australian Psychological Society Conference currently being held in Sydney.
Kate Southam,, September 30, 2004.

Male sexual harassment is not a joke

It’s real and reported cases are on the rise — here’s how to handle it

“Many people mistakenly believe that harassment is limited to females,” says Roberta Chinsky Matuson, a human resource expert. “The truth is that this type of experience is just as damaging to men.”
© Roy McMahon/Corbis

By Eve Tahmincioglu
MSNBC contributor
updated 9:49 a.m. ET July 10, 2007

We often talk about sexual harassment against women in the workplace but for this column I’m going to address the growing problem of sexual harassment against men in the workplace.

Are you laughing? You probably are. That’s what happened recently when I discussed the topic with friends and colleagues. Few seem to take this issue seriously.

But for quite a few men, sexual harassment is indeed becoming a serious issue, and some men are deciding not to just brush aside the unwelcome advances from women and men.

“Many people mistakenly believe that harassment is limited to females,” says Roberta Chinsky Matuson, a human resource expert. “The truth is that this type of experience is just as damaging to men.”

While the number of sexual harassment cases overall has consistently declined in the past few years, “sexual harassment filings by men have consistently increased, doubling over 15 years,” says David Grinberg, a spokesman for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC.

Even though women filing charges makes up the bulk of the EEOC’s sexual harassment workload, men are becoming a bigger piece of the pie, with nearly 2000 filing charges last year.

And that’s cases that get to the EEOC. Many labor experts say men are less likely than women to speak up about such cases of harassment for fear of being mocked by coworkers, and even fewer would take the charges to a government agency and risk widespread knowledge of their plight.

Thomas, who works in academia but didn’t want his full name used, found himself in an office made up of mainly women who would routinely share and copy each other emailed jokes and emails about men. A few, he adds, “made fun of men’s unique anatomy, if you know what I mean.” The behavior, he says, made him feel isolated. When he finally addressed the matter with the women in the office, “the women were stunned, generally with a ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ kind of attitude. And they kept doing it.”

There are a host of reasons the number of men complaining about harassment may be up.

There are more female bosses in the workplace today than there were just 10 years ago; and unfortunately men don’t have a corner on the rude-behavior market.

Also, a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1998 involving a Louisiana man who claimed he was sexually harassed by his male manager while working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, made it clear that men are protected from such harassment at work under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The first ever court case involving sexual harassment of a man in the workplace was in 1995. The EEOC sued Domino Pizza after a female supervisor of a male store manager sexually harassed him and then fired him.

“She would caress his shoulders and neck, and pinched his buttocks,” the EEOC said in a statement.

The case went to trial in Tampa and the male manager was awarded $237,000 in damages.

Last year, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a Mississippi real estate company on behalf of a man who they say was “sexually harassed and retaliated against by his female manager.” The agency said the man, a maintenance worker in an apartment complex, rebuffed sexual advances from his female manager. As a result, she began a “pattern of retaliation against him, culminating in his firing.”

And just this past February, a federal jury granted a $225,000 verdict to three men who said their manager at an Oxford, Miss., construction company sexually harassed them.

The three male employees were truck drivers and they all complained about one manager whose behavior included “sexually offensive comments and unwanted physical contact.”

The EEOC’s Birmingham regional attorney C. Emanuel Smith noted in a release about the ruling: “Some employers may view male-on-male harassment as ‘horseplay’ or ‘boys being boys’ but this kind of intentional discrimination can cause needless suffering and permanent scars for employees – not to mention creating liability issues for employers who violate federal law.”

So hopefully you’ve all stopped snickering, and realize such claims are definitely serious.

The biggest challenge for men is figuring out what to do when this happens.

Some men, says relationship psychiatrist Paul Dobransky, will deal with the harassment head on and then shrug it off; while others get all tied up in knots and feel stuck. In the latter case, things will only deteriorate and probably lead to more harassment. The key, he adds, “is to set personal boundaries.”

You should first confront the harasser. Tell them clearly and without wavering that you do not appreciates that type of behavior and you want it to stop. Don’t joke around with the individual and don’t be wishy-washy, harassers can smell fear.

If it doesn’t stop talk to your manager, but if the harasser is your manager, go above his or her head to their supervisor. Your next step if nothing is resolved is the HR office and then the EEOC if you get nowhere with that.

If you’re looking for confidentiality, don’t hold your breath, says employment attorney Michael Cohen. Once you go beyond the harasser, the company will be forced to investigate the claim and surely your name will end up the talk of the office on IM.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address another big issue — bogus sexual harassment claims. Yes, men can make those too.

Not everything is considered sexual harassment under the law. (And I’m saying this to not only men but women as well.) Just because a guy or gal asks you out doesn’t mean you’ve been harassed. And just because someone has a photo you might deem inappropriate on his or her computer, or tells an off-color joke in the office, doesn’t mean you should be running to your human resource department.

We’ve all become quite touchy in the workplace and often take what our colleagues say the wrong way. But remember, we’re working in close quarters with a mixed bag of individuals that do and say stuff we might not like.

Let’s keep this all in perspective. If a boss asks you out, say “no”. If he or she demotes or fires you, then you’ve got a serious sexual harassment claim on your hands. If a coworker or coworkers keep inundating you with sexually explicit jokes, photos, etc., and continue to do it even when you ask them to stop, you may have a case as well if you can prove they created a hostile environment for you.

Taking your case all the way to the EEOC, or even to HR isn’t the best option for everyone. If things don’t change at your job, you can always choose to move on. A place with that kind of attitude is probably bad career karma anyway.

After approaching his harassing coworkers, Thomas spoke to his bosses and someone was brought in to intercede, but no one was formally disciplined. Some behaviors ceased but others did not. “Resentment in all directions festered and over the course of a couple of years the events really blew apart the office, and most everyone was working elsewhere within a couple of years,” he adds, including himself. “I’ve moved on with a very successful career.”

Women Harassing Men

Complaints about women bosses preying on men have doubled since 1990. What’s going on out there?


The harassment of men at the hands of women is clearly having a moment. While the total number of sexual-harassment claims brought to the EEOC has been declining steadily over the past eight years, the percentage of allegations filed by men has doubled between 1990 and 2007, to 16 percent of all claims. Given that it’s estimated only 5 to 15 percent of incidents are even reported, and those that are remain confidential unless a lawsuit is filed — which rarely happens in cases where men are the victims, says EEOC spokesman David Grinberg — who knows how many Louis Obleas are out there, staring in horror at nude pictures of their female superiors? “Most complaints are mediated and resolved, and you’ll never hear about them,” says celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred. “You won’t even see a piece of paper.”

While it’s true that the boldest headlines still involve old-school offenders like Knicks coach Isiah Thomas — who was found guilty of harassing a female former Knicks executive (she claimed that Thomas told her he loved her, and also called her a bitch and a ho) — the more recent phenomenon of women taking lascivious liberties with men has slipped quietly into the zeitgeist. Note Lipstick Jungle’s stiletto-wearing magazine editor, Nico Reilly, getting slapped with a complaint after dumping her young lover, Kirby, a photography assistant who works with the magazine. The plotline is plausible because women finally have the power to be predators. We’ve come a long way since 1994’s Disclosure, about a female boss who tries to coerce a male employee to have sex with her, the very premise of which was considered silly at the time — the stuff of, well, Michael Douglas movies. According to New York City lawyer Ronald Green — who represented Bill O’Reilly after O’Reilly’s female producer accused him of, among many things, fantasizing over the phone about lathering her up with a loofah mitt — his big clients are now coming to him for help in defending their female executives against sexual-harassment claims. “Women are just behaving like those who came before them,” he says.

The relative newness of women in the corner office has lent an undeniable frisson to the corporate environment. Given how accustomed women are to drive-by comments and propositions, it can be thrilling when the tables turn and they’re the ones controlling the dynamic. Says a 35-year-old executive at a Massachusetts financial company, who has 37 men reporting directly to her: “There are days when I just think, You know, I could have any single one of these guys. Of course, in reality, I wouldn’t step over that line, but I know I could. And to be frank, that thought makes work far more interesting.” She admits to dressing for her male colleagues. And when hiring an assistant, damned if she didn’t choose the “totally hot” 25-year-old former professional hockey player. “If I have to look at this guy every day, why not have it be someone who makes me remember what a schoolgirl crush is?”


A clear factor in cases brought by men is the difficulty society might have believing they would be offended by a come-on. No real man rebuffs sexual attention, goes the thinking, so how can he even be sexually harassed? “It’s sort of a societal taboo. A man’s going to complain because a woman’s hitting on him? What’s wrong with him?” says Alexis McKenna, a lawyer who litigates such cases. Men simply haven’t been raised to think of themselves as potential victims — making it all the more difficult to protest. “It’s much more shameful for men to have to confront sexual harassment and admit it,” says University of Maine sociologist Amy Blackstone. “It’s something that gets joked about.”

Just ask James Stevens, a soft-spoken, devout Christian who worked for more than 15 years at a Vons supermarket in Simi Valley, CA, who claims that a coworker named Laura Marko was inappropriate with him every day for two years. “Most black men would love to have a white woman sexually harass them — that’s what I’d hear,” he says. “But I couldn’t be more repulsed. She would ask me point-blank, Do I go down on my wife? When I announced that my wife was pregnant, she suggested that if my wife had done a different act, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant.”

Stevens finally complained, and the company transferred him. “And the first thing out of my wife’s mouth is, ‘Why are they transferring you if she was harassing you?’ In the back of her mind, she was thinking maybe I could have been harassing this woman,” he says. His coworkers thought that, too. The rumor spread. And then Vons fired him.

“It really destroyed my family,” Stevens says. “It destroyed my life.” He spent most of his days lost in a prescribed narcotic cocktail — Zyprexa and Celexa and Vicodin — and then his wife took their baby daughter and left.

Determining that Vons fired him in retaliation for his complaining about being sexually harassed, a jury awarded Stevens $18 million, one of the largest decisions of its kind. (Vons has appealed.) But when I call Laura Marko and tell her that I’m writing a story about male victims of sexual harassment, she laughs hysterically (not to mention bitterly). “It was actually the other way around,” she says. “He was just a guy waiting for an opportunity.”


Or maybe they just feel...harassed. Consider the case of former senior undercover drug detective Matt Floeter, a deeply tanned 41-year-old with bulging muscles and eyes the color of the South Florida ocean. From the day Sergeant Barbara Jones took over as the supervisor of his hard-core, paramilitary-style unit of the Orlando Police Department, she could not keep her hands to herself, he says, grabbing and hugging him and the other guys every time they passed her desk in their big, open box of an office. “She was like a kid in a candy shop,” he says. “She had a full-court press on me all the time” — even rubbing her groin against him, he says, and at least once humping his leg, just like their unit’s drug-sniffing dog, Gunney.

It’s hard to believe that this tough guy — who once shot a whacked-out dealer five times in a bust gone bad and who was commended for valor by former Attorney General John Ashcroft for doing it — would allow a woman pushing 50 to molest him. Floeter explains: “Hey, that is a sergeant, and you have got to bow down and say, ‘Yes ma’am, no ma’am,’ and you have to respect the rank.” Plus, she was personal pals with her supervisor.

And yet Floeter did complain, finally, after three months of the alleged behavior, following a closed-door meeting with Jones in which she came down on him about his poor work ethic and threatened to subpoena his phone records because he was using his cell phone while on duty for calls related to his personal business, Aqua Cops. After another argument during a unit meeting in which Jones detailed changes she was set to implement that Floeter felt would undercut his investigative work and damage his reputation, Floeter drove straight to Internal Affairs and reported her for sexual harassment. The city settled out of court with Floeter last December, for an undisclosed amount. For her part, Barbara Jones was reprimanded for conduct unbecoming an officer.

“It was horrible,” says Jones, who is now the public-information officer for the Orlando Police Department. “Especially when you didn’t do anything, but you don’t have any proof that you didn’t.”

Her explanation is simple: She was forcing the detectives to be accountable for their productivity, and they didn’t like it. “They’re all macho and aggressive and the best of the best and don’t mess with us kind of thing,” she says.

Who’s telling the truth — the befuddled woman with the sweet Southern accent, now 53, or the defiant detective who drove 260 miles on a Sunday to tell me his side of the story?

Sure, Jones had hugged her men — “in a congratulatory way,” she says. But it wasn’t anything weird. That’s how a woman shows appreciation. That’s just what a woman does. Isn’t it?

Man handling - sexual harassment of men

ALTHOUGH a popular success, Disclosure was derided by feminists who considered its premise--sexual harassment of a man by a woman--silly at best, dangerous at worst. After all, everyone knows sexual harassment is something a man does to a woman. That assumption is reflected in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guidelines on sexual harassment, where the harasser is always a "he" and the victim a "she." You have to refer to a footnote to verify that the law, in theory, protects men as well as women.

Most of the published research on sexual harassment agrees: women are victims; men are harassers. In surveys, some 40 per cent of women report being harassed at work, compared to a negligible proportion of men. When men do report harassment, their harassers are often other men.

But these indicators may not give us an accurate picture of what is going on. To begin with, the leading sexual-harassment researchers are feminist ideologues who are mainly concerned with finding evidence of patriarchal oppression. They design their studies accordingly: most of the research does not even include male subjects.

More to the point, most men would not recognize sexual harassment if it hit them in the face. Ask a number of men if they have been harassed, and nine out of ten, will say, "No, but I'd like to be." Men generally do not consider teasing, sexual jokes, and lewd innuendoes from female co-workers harassment; they are not upset by the kinds of comments and incidents that have brought female plaintiffs millions of dollars in awards for "hostile environment" claims. In a recent lawsuit against the Jenny Craig diet organization by several male employees, one of the plaintiffs said he initially liked it when the women he worked with told him he had a nice body. He and the others did not file suit until they were denied promotions, were assigned to poor sales territories, or were terminated from the organization. After examining their complaint, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination found probable cause of gender bias in the organization's actions against the men.

Since men are not sensitive to harassing behavior that women (or at least feminists) construe as harassment, it's not surprising that they are not filing many harassment complaints. Consider a scenario. A young man gets a job as an assistant manager in a bank. His boss, a member of the National Association of Bank Women, often talks about the importance of mentoring young women and complains that men have created a glass ceiling that oppresses female managers. Her coffee mug is emblazoned with an anti-male statement. To top it off, she and the other women who work in the branch often tell dirty jokes in which men are portrayed derogatorily. There's little question that this man is the victim of a "hostile environment," one that may well interfere with his ability to perform his duties. But if you ask him whether he has been sexually harassed, he will probably say no.
To get beyond this barrier, male subjects in harassment surveys should be asked not whether they have been sexually harassed but whether certain kinds of behavior have occurred. When we ask male undergraduates if they have ever been sexually harassed by a female instructor, almost all of them say no. But when we ask if they have experienced specific types of treatment in a female instructor's classroom, such as derogatory or off-color comments about men, some 60 per cent of them report such incidents.


Yet most people still snicker about female harassment of males. Several men who claimed to have been sexually harassed appeared recently on Donahue. Between the host's eye rolling and the audience's derision, you would have thought these men were reporting encounters with UFOs. Sometimes even juries do not take the subject seriously. In a 1991 case in Michigan, the jury agreed that a man had endured repeated fondling by his female co-workers but awarded him only $100 in damages. Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars regularly awarded to female plaintiffs.

Men are doubly penalized by the current alarm about sexual harassment. On the one hand, they are weakened in any office encounter with a woman because she always holds the harassment trump card. On the other hand, the current interpretation of harassment law gives women license to say and do things in the workplace to which men cannot respond in kind. There is an open hostility toward men in many workplaces, and no one is rushing to document or change it.

Business, which should have an interest in finding out the truth, has instead swallowed whole the received wisdom on sexual harassment and acted on it swiftly and thoroughly. Companies spend millions of dollars on "harassment training," hoping that putting employees through these programs will stave off potential problems or at least inoculate them against major liability. Although some of the harassment training is of passable quality (given the flawed evidence on which it is based), too much of the training results in resentment by male employees and "over-empowerment" of female employees. In a recent case, a group of male air-traffic controllers filed charges against the Federal Aviation Administration, claiming they were forced to observe photos of male sex organs and let female participants fondle them during harassment training.

Sexually harassed men face skepticism from both sides of the political spectrum. On the Left, no one is seriously challenging the anti-male feminist paradigm. On the Right, commentators have cautioned that men should not succumb to the harassment hysteria. Yet conservatives in particular should take a more active interest in setting the record straight, given the costs and public-policy ramifications of current erroneous theories.

Workplace Tensions

THE current approach to sexual harassment has clearly hurt working relationships between men and women. Men are retreating to the safety of their offices, avoiding private contact with female co-workers, and carefully censoring their speech. Although the evidence has not yet been collected, it seems likely that male harassment victims, like their female counterparts, are more likely to be absent from work, to be less productive, and to leave the organization. In addition, men confronted by a sexually hostile environment may lash out against female co-workers, thereby prompting sexual-harassment complaints.


Differing male and female interpretations of harassing behavior led the federal courts to establish the "reasonable woman" standard in 1991. This codified what we have known all along: men and women see things differently. According to the ruling, behavior that a man considers acceptable can constitute harassment if it is offensive to a "reasonable woman." In other words, decades of evolving feminist theory have led us back to a Victorian vision of woman; she cannot endure what a man can and must be protected.

Most of the outcry over sexual harassment is not about bosses demanding sex but about men doing and saying things that some women find offensive. Perhaps women are behaving just as offensively, but men have learned to live with it. The real answer to the "hostile environment" problem may be that women should learn to live with it too.


Power And Sexual Harassment -- Men And Women See Things Differently

ScienceDaily (Apr. 6, 2007) — In the hands of the wrong person, power can be dangerous. That's especially the case in the workplace, where the abuse of power can lead to sexual harassment.

Issues of power, workplace culture and the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal communication associated with sexual harassment were the focus of a study by Debbie Dougherty, assistant professor of communication in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Working with a large healthcare organization in the Midwest, Dougherty examined the question: why does sexual harassment occur?

"Power," she said. "It was the common answer. It came up repeatedly. However, what I found were multiple definitions of power."
Those definitions varied by gender. [...] After being placed in discussion groups, they openly discussed sexual harassment and confirmed what some researchers have argued - sexual harassment is more about power than sex, Dougherty said. In fact, moderators never asked participants to address the issue of power.
The findings indicate that:
  • For men, power comes from formal authority, and they view sexual harassers as primarily managers and supervisors. "I have power, so I sexually harass," Dougherty said, citing a reason for such actions. Men acknowledged that coworkers could sexually harass one another, but co-worker harassment was mainly seen as a "misunderstanding."
  • Women view power in a more complex manner; formal authority is but one dimension in male-dominated workplaces. Power to women is a negotiated process between the harasser and harassed. Dougherty said women often perceive all members of an organization as possible harassers - thinking it can be initiated by any person who is perceived as having power.
  • There is a discrepancy regarding the types of actions, behavior and communication that men and women consider sexually offensive. They also differ in their views of how power in the workplace can contribute to sexual harassment. In the study, the participants never recognized that they defined power differently, Dougherty said.
"The fact that men and women were using the same word to describe different behaviors may contribute to the continued existence of sexual harassment," she said. "So if a man thinks that sexual harassment only comes from a supervisor, he may feel free to make sexual comments to a female coworker. The female coworker is likely to see the sexual comments as a quest for power and label it as sexual harassment."


Bullying More Harmful Than Sexual Harassment On The Job, Say Researchers

ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2008) — Workplace bullying, such as belittling comments, persistent criticism of work and withholding resources, appears to inflict more harm on employees than sexual harassment, say researchers who presented their findings at a recent conference.

"As sexual harassment becomes less acceptable in society, organizations may be more attuned to helping victims, who may therefore find it easier to cope," said lead author M. Sandy Hershcovis, PhD, of the University of Manitoba. "In contrast, non-violent forms of workplace aggression such as incivility and bullying are not illegal, leaving victims to fend for themselves."

Hershcovis and co-author Julian Barling, PhD, of Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, reviewed 110 studies conducted over 21 years that compared the consequences of employees' experience of sexual harassment and workplace aggression. Specifically, the authors looked at the effect on job, co-worker and supervisor satisfaction, workers' stress, anger and anxiety levels as well as workers' mental and physical health. Job turnover and emotional ties to the job were also compared.

The authors distinguished among different forms of workplace aggression. Incivility included rudeness and discourteous verbal and non-verbal behaviors. Bullying included persistently criticizing employees' work; yelling; repeatedly reminding employees of mistakes; spreading gossip or lies; ignoring or excluding workers; and insulting employees' habits, attitudes or private life. Interpersonal conflict included behaviors that involved hostility, verbal aggression and angry exchanges.

Both bullying and sexual harassment can create negative work environments and unhealthy consequences for employees, but the researchers found that workplace aggression has more severe consequences. Employees who experienced bullying, incivility or interpersonal conflict were more likely to quit their jobs, have lower well-being, be less satisfied with their jobs and have less satisfying relations with their bosses than employees who were sexually harassed, the researchers found.

Furthermore, bullied employees reported more job stress, less job commitment and higher levels of anger and anxiety. No differences were found between employees experiencing either type of mistreatment on how satisfied they were with their co-workers or with their work.

"Bullying is often more subtle, and may include behaviors that do not appear obvious to others," said Hershcovis. "For instance, how does an employee report to their boss that they have been excluded from lunch? Or that they are being ignored by a coworker? The insidious nature of these behaviors makes them difficult to deal with and sanction."

From a total of 128 samples that were used, 46 included subjects who experienced sexual harassment, 86 experienced workplace aggression and six experienced both. Sample sizes ranged from 1,491 to 53,470 people. Participants ranged from 18 to 65 years old. The work aggression samples included both men and women. The sexual harassment samples examined primarily women because, Hershcovis said, past research has shown that men interpret and respond differently to the behaviors that women perceive as sexual harassment.


Women Experience More Sexual Harassment In Work Groups With Male, Female Balance

ScienceDaily (Nov. 12, 2008) — Despite common assumptions, new research suggests that women are not more likely to be sexually harassed when they are the minority or majority in a work group. Instead, researchers found that in most cases, women were sexually harassed at work when their work group had a similar proportion of males and females.

A study looking at 110 work groups from around the world found that women who work in relatively equally matched gender groups were more likely to be harassed than women who worked in predominantly male or female groups. Women in these situations were more likely to experience taunting, patronizing, and predatory behaviors.

“Some people argue that women are more likely to be harassed when there are just a few women, and other people argue that women are harassed when they are the dominant group in an occupation. But we found that actually was not the case. Most sexual harassment occurs in situations in equally mixed gender groups,” said Randy Hodson, co-author of the study and professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

Hodson said the logic behind the finding is simple: sexual harassment occurs where there is more opportunity.


More than one third of the work groups studied did not have any incidents of sexual harassment. But when sexual harassment was observed, it was found more often in groups with a nearly equal mixture of men and women than in groups with a lone female in a predominately male environment.
“In our research, we saw example after example of situations where women were harassed most often in groups with an equal gender composition,” said Lindsey Joyce Chamberlain, co-author of the study and doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State.


Women who had more autonomy, for example, were more likely to be the victim of every type of sexual harassment. More power in some organizations led to women being taunted, but it also opened the door for sexual solicitation, threats, and forced sexual contact. This finding in particular was completely unexpected, Chamberlain said.

“We thought more power, for women especially, would protect them from certain types of harassment. But we many women that were harassed because they were in positions with power. Women who have jobs with higher autonomy may be seen as threats to men in organizations that have been traditionally been male dominated,” she said.


Erin Pizzey on DV

Erin Pizzey, champion of women's rights, says radical feminist plans to let victims of domestic abuse get away with murder are an affront to morality

Harriet Harman recently made a leaden attempt at self-deprecating humour. In response to a House of Commons question about her leadership ambitions, she said that she could not possibly become Prime Minister because, if she did, then the nation’s airports would be filled with men trying to flee the country.

The joke caused bewildered looks rather than laughs, partly because of her lack of comic timing, but more importantly because there is nothing funny about her aggressively feminist agenda, which treats men as either second-class citizens or a menace to society.

Harman may try to raise a titter by playing on her reputation as a hardline women’s rights campaigner. But, in reality, men would be right to shudder if she were to seize the reins of power.

Throughout her political career, Ms Harman has promoted the extreme feminist cause.

She recently introduced an outrageously misnamed ‘Equality Bill’, which actually proposed to give legal sanction to overt discrimination against men in job recruitment.

The scheme was dressed up as an attempt to combat prejudice against women in the workplace, but in reality made anti-male bias acceptable.

Now comes an even more sinister move. Yesterday, Ms Harman — who, worryingly, is acting Prime Minister during Gordon Brown’s summer holiday — set out new proposals that may lead to a change in the law in cases of murder involving domestic violence.

As she revealed, she has embarked on a consultation process to decide whether victims of domestic violence who kill their partners should be allowed to plead provocation where they claim to be living in fear of future attacks.

At present, the defence of provocation can be used only when an individual kills during a sudden loss of self-control — during a fight, for example.

Under Ms Harman’s scheme, however, cold-blooded murder could be tolerated under British law for the first time, as long as the killer can convince a court she felt in long-term danger from her partner.

Now, I have been a supporter of women’s rights all my life. In 1971, I founded the first women’s refuge in the country, which led to the creation of a nationwide network offering shelter for victims of domestic violence.

And through that experience, as well as my own upbringing at the hands of abusive parents, I know what a terrifying problem domestic violence can be.

But it is precisely because of my desire to protect the vulnerable that I am so opposed to Ms Harman’s absurd new plan, which is not only an affront to the basic morality of our society, but also a ridiculously one-sided, misogynistic, simplistic and dangerous response to the issue.

Indeed, as with so many of her other forays into policy-making, it is driven more by feminist ideology than compassion.

Effectively, what Harman and the ultra-feminist lobby want is a licence for women to kill.

For thousands of years, one of the pillars of Judaeo-Christian civilisation has been the ethical injunction, ‘Thou shalt not kill’.

But now, radical female modernisers think that this moral edifice can be pulled down and replaced with a perverse new moral code which holds that women can murder as long as their sense of victimhood is sufficiently powerful.

If this plan is enacted, we will no longer have absolute justice in this country. Instead, our courts will have to use a carefully calibrated measure of female grievance against which to judge the darkest of all crimes.

Only in the warped mindset of feminist radicals should we protect the vulnerable by downgrading our moral abhorrence of murder.

Rather than reducing violence, Harriet Harman’s proposals could become a charter for domestic chaos, as vengeful women believe they can butcher partners they come to loathe, inventing incidents of abuse or exaggerating fears of assault.

That this grotesque proposal is even being considered by the Government only shows how far the once honourable women’s liberation movement has been hijacked by extreme feminists, who are interested in oppressing men rather than real equality.

It is telling that one of the driving forces behind these proposals is Julie Bindel, of the Left-wing pressure group Justice for Women.

Ms Bindel displayed her lack of balance in a recent article in the Guardian newspaper, entitled ‘Why I hate men’.

One of her sentences read: ‘I will say loud and proud, yes, today I hate men, and will tomorrow and the day after.’

No doubt in her misogynistic world, killing men is a form of justifiable homicide. But it is an outrage that thanks to Ms Harman, feminists such as Bindel can influence public policy.

The absurdity of the Harman position is the pretence that women in a violent relationship have no alternative but to kill their partners.

It might have been true half a century ago, when there were no refuges and neither the courts nor the police treated domestic violence seriously. But it is not the case today, not least thanks to the efforts of women’s campaigners like myself who have fought to change things.

Domestic violence is now taken seriously by all state institutions, and every police force has its own domestic violence team. A woman fearing abuse does not have to suffer alone. She can pick up the phone, and the police and social services will respond.

The proposals have also been prompted by the feminist belief that men often escape justice for their violence simply by claiming they were bullied by their partners, or that they were provoked because their partner was having any affair.

This is a myth. Home Office research shows 5 per cent of men are acquitted in domestic violence cases. Meanwhile, 22 per cent of women get off.

Another myth is that domestic violence is almost exclusively perpetrated by men against women. Again, this is nonsense.

Certain crime studies show that while one in four women has suffered from abuse, one in six men has also done so.

I will never forget one woman, who was staying in my refuge, telling me, in chilling tones, ‘knives are a great leveller’.

That is the reality of domestic violence. It is far less clear-cut than the ideologues like to pretend, with their neat division between female victims and male oppressors.

The truth is that much of the violence takes place in squalid, tortured relationships, often involving drink and drugs, where both partners are guilty of verbal and physical assault.

In the refuge I opened in 1971, for example, of the first 100 women through the door, 62 admitted that they had also perpetrated violence against their partners.

Harman’s law, if enacted, will be a recipe for injustice, not a means of protecting women’s rights. It is vital that we should uphold the law as it stands and never allow our legal system to be dragged down by amoral feminist dogma.

How feminists tried to destroy the family

Last updated at 23:19pm on 22nd January 2007

Erin Pizzey, founder of the battered wives' refuge, on how militant feminists - with the collusion of Labour's leading women - hijacked her cause and used it to try to demonise all men.

During 1970, I was a young housewife with a husband, two children, two dogs and a cat. We lived in Hammersmith, West London, and I didn't see much of my husband because he worked for TV's Nationwide. I was lonely and isolated, and longed for something other than the usual cooking, cleaning and housework to enter my life.

By the early Seventies, a new movement for women - demanding equality and rights - began to make headlines in the daily newspapers. Among the jargon, I read the words "solidarity" and "support". I passionately believed that women would no longer find themselves isolated from each other, and in the future could unite to change our society for the better.

Within a few days I had the address of a local group in Chiswick, and I was on my way to join the Women's Liberation Movement. I was asked to pay £3 and ten shillings as a joining fee, told to call other women "sisters" and that our meetings were to be called "collectives".

My fascination with this new movement lasted only a few months. At the huge "collectives", I heard shrill women preaching hatred of the family. They said the family was not a safe place for women and children. I was horrified at their virulence and violent tendencies. I stood on the same platforms trying to reason with the leading lights of this new organisation.

I ended up being thrown out by the movement. My crime was to warn some of the women working in the Women's Liberation Movement office off Shaftesbury Avenue that if it persisted in cooperating with a plan to bomb Biba, a fashionable clothes shop in Kensington, I would call the police.

Biba was bombed because the women's movement thought it was a capitalist enterprise devoted to sexualising women's bodies.

I decided that I was wasting my time trying to influence what, to my mind, was a Marxist/ feminist movement touting for money from gullible women like myself.

By that time, I'd met a small group of women in my area who agreed with me. We persuaded Hounslow council to give us a tiny house in Belmont Terrace in Chiswick. We had two rooms upstairs, two rooms downstairs, a kitchen and an outside lavatory. We installed a telephone and typewriter, and we were in business.

Every day after dropping my children at school, I went to our little house, which we called the Women's Aid. Soon women from all over Chiswick were coming to ask for help. At last we had somewhere women could meet each other and bring their children. My long, lonely days were over.

But then something happened that made me understand that our role was going to be more than just a forum where women could exchange ideas. One day, a lady came in to see us. She took off her jersey, and we saw that she was bruised and swollen across her breasts and back. Her husband had taken a chair leg to her. She looked at me and said: "No one will help me."

For a moment I was somersaulted back in time. I was six years old, standing in front of a teacher at school. My legs were striped and bleeding from a whipping I had received from an ironing cord. "My mother did this to me last night," I said. "No wonder," replied the teacher. "'You're a dreadful child."

No one would help me then and nobody would ever imagine that my beautiful, rich mother - who was married to a diplomat - could be a violent abuser.

Until that moment 35 years later, I had buried my past and assumed that because we had social workers, probation officers, doctors, hospitals and solicitors, victims of violence had enough help.

I quickly discovered, as battered women with their children poured into the house, that whatever was going on behind other people's front doors was seen as nobody else's business.

If someone was beaten up on the street, it was a criminal offence; the same beating behind a closed door was called "a domestic"' and the police had no rights or power to interfere.

The shocking fact for me was that there had been a deafening silence on the subject of domestic violence.

All the social agencies knew about domestic violence, but nobody talked about it. I searched for literature to help me understand this epidemic, but there was nothing to read except a few articles on child abuse in medical journals.

So in 1974 I decided to write Scream Quietly Or The Neighbours Will Hear, the first book in the world on domestic violence. I revealed that women and children were being abused in their own homes and they couldn't escape because the law wouldn't protect them.

If a husband claimed he would have his wife back, she couldn't claim any money from the Department of Health and Social Security, and social services could only offer to take the children into care.

Meanwhile, our little house was packed with women fleeing their violent partners - sometimes as many as 56 mothers and children in four rooms. All had terrible stories, but I recognised almost immediately that not all the women were innocent. Some were as violent as the men, and violent towards their children.

The social workers involved with these women told me I was wasting my time because the women would only return to their partners.

I was determined to try to break the chain of violence. But as the local newspaper picked up the story of our house, I grew worried about a very different threat.

I knew that the radical feminist movement was running out of national support because more sensible women had shunned their anti-male, anti-family agenda. Not only were they looking for a cause, they also wanted money.

In 1974, the women living in my refuge organised a meeting in our local church hall to encourage other groups to open refuges across the country.

We were astonished and frightened that many of the radical lesbian and feminist activists that I had seen in the collectives attended. They began to vote themselves into a national movement across the country.

After a stormy argument, I left the hall with my abused mothers - and what I had most feared happened.

In a matter of months, the feminist movement hijacked the domestic violence movement, not just in Britain, but internationally.

Our grant was given to them and they had a legitimate reason to hate and blame all men. They came out with sweeping statements which were as biased as they were ignorant. "All women are innocent victims of men's violence," they declared.

They opened most of the refuges in the country and banned men from working in them or sitting on their governing committees.

Women with alcohol or drug problems were refused admittance, as were boys over 12 years old. Refuges that let men work there were refused affiliation.

Our group in Chiswick worked with as many refuges as we could. Good, caring women still work in refuges across the country, but many women working in the feminist refuges, about 350, admit they are failing women who most need them.

With the first donation we received in 1972, we employed a male playgroup leader because we felt our children needed the experience of good, gentle men. We devised a treatment programme for women who recognised that they, too, were violent and dysfunctional. And we concentrated on children hurt by violence and sexual abuse.

Yet the feminist refuges continued to create training programmes that described only male violence against women. Slowly, the police and other organisations were brainwashed into ignoring the research that was proving men could also be victims.

Despite attacks in the Press from feminist journalists and threatening anonymous telephone calls, I continued to argue that violence was a learned pattern of behaviour from early childhood.

When, in the mid-Eighties, I published Prone To Violence, about my work with violence-prone women and their children, I was picketed by hundreds of women from feminist refuges, holding placards which read: "All men are bastards" and "All men are rapists".

Because of violent threats, I had to have a police escort around the country.

It was bad enough that this relatively small group of women was influencing social workers and police. But I became aware of a far more insidious development in the form of public policy-making by powerful women, which was creating a poisonous attitude towards men.

In 1990, Harriet Harman (who became a Cabinet minister), Anna Coote (who became an adviser to Labour's Minister for Women) and Patricia Hewitt (yes, she's in the Labour Cabinet, too!) expressed their beliefs in a social policy paper called The Family Way.

It said: "It cannot be assumed that men are bound to be an asset to family life, or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social harmony and cohesion."

It was a staggering attack on men and their role in modern life.

Hewitt, in a book by Geoff Dench called Transforming Men published in 1995, said: "But if we want fathers to play a full role in their children's lives, then we need to bring men into the playgroups and nurseries and the schools. And here, of course, we hit the immediate difficulty of whether we can trust men with children."

In 1998, however, the Home Office published a historic study which stipulated that men as well as women could be victims of domestic violence.

With that report in my hand, I tried to reason with Joan Ruddock, who was then Minister for Women. The figures for battered men were "minuscule" she insisted and she continued to refer to men only as "perpetrators".

For nearly four decades, these pernicious attitudes towards family life, fathers and boys have permeated the thinking of our society to such an extent that male teachers and carers are now afraid to touch or cuddle children.

Men can be accused of violence towards their partners and sexual abuse without evidence. Courts discriminate against fathers and refuse to allow them access to their children on the whims of vicious partners.

Of course, there are dangerous men who manipulate the court systems and social services to persecute their partners and children. But by blaming all men, we have diluted the focus on this minority of men and pushed aside the many men who would be willing to work with women towards solutions.

I believe that the feminist movement envisaged a new Utopia that depended upon destroying family life. In the new century, so their credo ran, the family unit will consist of only women and their children. Fathers are dispensable. And all that was yoked - unforgivably - to the debate about domestic violence.

To my mind, it has never been a gender issue - those exposed to violence in early childhood often grow up to repeat what they have learned, regardless of whether they are girls or boys.

I look back with sadness to my young self and my vision that there could be places where people - men, women and children who have suffered physical and sexual abuse - could find help, and if they were violent could be given a second chance to learn to live peacefully.

I believe that vision was hijacked by vengeful women who have ghetto-ised the refuge movement and used it to persecute men. Surely the time has come to challenge this evil ideology and insist that men take their rightful place in the refuge movement.

We need an inclusive movement that offers support to everyone that needs it. As for me - I will always continue to work with anyone who needs my help or can help others - and yes, that includes men.
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