“I find it very offensive when I am touched without my consent.”
I bet you read this in a woman’s voice and it may be accurate but the reality is that men feel this way a lot of times. When we hear sexual harassment, the first thing we think of is that the victim is woman and the perpetrator is a man. You’re not wrong because several instances of sexual harassment happen that way but the reality is that, men can also be victims at the hands of both men and women.
This is an opinion piece to address how these same things happen to men but they have been marginalized because at some point, some women have made themselves believe it is only harassment when a man does it to them.
Male sexual harassment happens everywhere; at work, at the gym, the mall, on the bus, at church, in restaurants, the club etc. They can be in the form of unwelcome touching and caressing, offensive sexual name calling and sexual comments and jokes.
I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance who shared his experience at his workplace with me. He worked in a female dominated office and there were several instances where his boss would squeeze his butt as a form of appreciation for him getting something right.
I was shocked because so many women go around angry at how they are treated by men in public, at the workplace, at church etc. So how do all those sentiments go out the window when itcomes to men?
Do we ever stop to think that even if not all, some of them feel uncomfortable when we get touchy with them? Unnecessarily touching their biceps, hands on their chest, hitting their ass, squeezing, sitting on their lap when they have not given their consent.
What gives some of us women the freedom to get away with acts like that and cry wolf when we are victims of such treatments?
I’m in no way trying to justify women being harassed, my problem is women doing the same to men and them feeling unsafe to loud it because it will suddenly come across as them not being “man enough”. What gives some of you women the pass to feel them up without consent while they have to always walk on eggshells around you?
Since time immemorial, men are groomed from boyhood to be strong and not show emotions that depicts vulnerability. Some men avoid speaking up in sexual harassment instances because they will be laughed at by their fellow men or tagged as a “softie” by women who hear of it. The stigma attached to a man being sexually harassed is that they will be seen as less manly if such cases are reported.
Unfortunately, this has made it become something of a norm for women to get away with harassing men sexually.
A more recent and complained about sexual harassment is now happening to straight men with gay men being the perpetrators.
I have personally heard several stories from male acquaintances of instances where they have been harassed by gay men. These are mostly gay men who can’t seem to take a hint or refuse to acknowledge the hint even when it’s been given. This seems to be an even bigger issue for straight men compared to being harassed by women. A lot of people relayed their stories and experiences with extreme bitterness and some have developed homophobic tendencies because of what they have had to endure. In these instances, they feel emasculated to even bring it up or think about it.
Most men just show their annoyance at sexual harassment incidents, hope it doesn’t repeat itself or they just decide to “tough” it out because it has gone on for so long that they themselves think it will be more of a nuisance to report than to keep it to themselves.
It is way past the time for women to start thinking about the double standards most of us hold when it comes to sexual harassment. I am very certain if some of you dig deep enough, you can pinpoint certain instances you did something to a male friend or colleague that if he had done to you, you would have screamed SEXUAL HARASSMENT.
To the Men, it is absolutely fine to let a woman or anyone know when you are uncomfortable with their advances and frequent touching. You do not have to take it. You are under no obligation to tough it out when it’s clearly making you uncomfortable.