Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Assault: 

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Support and Information Line 403–237–5888


Alberta's One Line for Sexual Violence 1–866–403–8000
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Mythbusting Monday: Sexual harassment is about sexual attraction

Newsweek published an article about the increased reporting of male-on-male sexual harassment. They correctly point out that harassment has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the perpetrators – the majority of whom are heterosexual – and everything to do with the abuse of power and control.

Sexual harassment is intended to intimidate and humiliate the person who is being harassed, and it’s very effective at doing so. Many victims of harassment, male or female, do not feel comfortable fighting back, for fear of the repercussions. Instead most people attempt to deal with the situation through avoidance behaviours, hoping that the harassment will stop. Sometimes when sexual harassment is not directly addressed or stopped, it can escalate into sexual assault, as demonstrated by the Oncale case mentioned in the article.

Some commenters on the site are finding the sexual harassment of males by males a difficult concept to accept. They attempt to understand it by sexualizing the situations, instead of embracing the reality that it is about the abuse of power. Male on male harassment is actually fairly common, and can present as jokes about an individual’s sexual orientation, and hazing rituals.

When confronted with male on male sexual harassment, it’s interesting to note that a lot of men will say the victims should “man up” or control the situation through aggression. This follows the concept that men can’t be victimized, because they are more physically capable of defending themselves. In reality, these situations are far more complex and some men may not feel comfortable using physical action to resolve the situation.

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