Monday, May 23, 2016

Improving Training to Stop Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can happen in a workplace or other professional or social situations. It typically involves one or more men making unwanted sexual advances or making obscene remarks to a cis or trans gender woman.  Because of the prevalence of sexual harassment in work settings and subsequent lawsuits and protests, many companies and universities have instituted sexual harassment trainings. Recent research suggests that the “let’s cover our liability” approach to sexual harassment by employers is not reducing sexual harassment and may, in fact, result in men being less capable of perceiving inappropriate behavior and more likely to blame victims (Levin 2016).
            What is wrong with the training? Researcher Lauren Edelman suggests that trainings typically use cartoonish and unrealistic examples that erode the seriousness of sexual harassment. Edelman suggests that we need more research on the effectiveness of sexual harassment training and need to develop other methods for promoting prevention, including how sexual harassment cases are handled, promoting women in leadership, and reducing gender inequality in the workplace.
Martha Thompson
IMPACT Chicago Self-Defense Instructor
National Women’s Martial Arts Certified Self-Defense Instructor


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