More men being sexually abused at workplace

MELBOURNE: If you are a working man, be careful! An increasing number of men are being sexually targeted at the workplace, a recent study warns.

Researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) reviewed 282 complaints lodged over six months, reported.

The study found 78 per cent of cases were men harassing female colleagues. Professor Paula McDonald from QUT said 11 per cent of the complaints were from men against other men.

She said that figure was higher than expected.

“The male-on-male harassment complaints often included conduct such as homosexual slurs, which questioned the man’s sexuality. There was a very strong homophobic tone that went through the male-on-male complaints,” Paula said.

There were taunts about apparently unmasculine conduct and appearance and insinuations that they were gay.

Professor McDonald said managers in all workplaces needed to be aware of the risk of sexual harassment and put measures in place to stop it.

“What we found in particular with the female-on-female is that it is strongly hierarchical, which might lend support to the idea that sometimes women have to behave in a masculine way to maintain authority.”

Nearly six per cent of cases were women being harassed by other women, mostly their bosses, the study said.

Professor McDonald said figures about less typical cases of sexual harassment were useful in understanding how to stop it.

“We can’t be complacent about sexual harassment as an ongoing problem. It continues to manifest in a lot of different types of organisations, not only male-dominated one, which is often assumed,” she said.