Denver, CO- A large fraction of women—and a smaller fraction of men—are subjected to sexual harassment at university and at work. As if that wasn’t enough for women to deal with, a new study shows that when men at bars get a few drinks in them, they feel embolden to touch and make lewd comments to women.
Not that we needed a study to tell us men get all grabby when they are drunk, but the data helps us understand the scope of the sexual harassment problem.
For the study researchers in Toronto visited 118 nightclubs, sports bars and concert venues, making 1,300 visits, according to Health Day. Trained observers visited the various venues and were asked to observe the interactions between patrons undetected.
Of the 1,000 observed interactions, 90 percent involved men sexually harassing women.
“That would include anything from a guy walking up to the bar and grabbing a woman’s breast and then disappearing into the crowd, to guys trying to get a woman to dance with them and not taking no for an answer, to a guy going up to a girl on the dance floor and rubbing his groin against her,” study author Kathryn Graham, senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto told Health Day.
Researchers noticed the women tried to send at least four signals to indicate they were not interested. In about half of those incidents, the men didn’t catch on to those signals and continued to persistently pursue the women, Health Day reported. They just weren’t going to take “No” for an answer.
What surprised researchers is that then men who were more aggressive in their pursuit were not the most intoxicated; instead the women were drunker than the men. The research suggests men target women who are more intoxicated than themselves.
The researchers also found that staff at the venue did not intervene. Some incidents could be handled by the intended target, but when incidents escalated to more serious events—researchers observed 258 of these types of events—bouncers only intervened in ten of those incidents.
Researchers suggested that bar and club employees are trained to handle incidents of sexual harassment. They also suggested that teenage boys should be taught that sexual harassment is wrong in any situation whether it is a bar, at school or in the workplace.
But as we all know, even if a person is taught sexual harassment is wrong, they don’t always control those impulses and don’t realize how it affects the victim. In a bar, sexual harassment is typically a one-time incident, but in the workplace of on the college campus it can be a pattern of behavior that persists for months or even years.
Victims of sexual harassment can report the behavior to their superiors but if nothing is done to stop the abuse, they will benefit from retaining a sexual harassment attorney to file a civil suit on their behalf.