Running heading: CHRISTIAN’S PERCEPTION AND RESPONSE TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE

 

 

 

Christian’s Perception and Response to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

 

 

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Abstract

Sexual harassment happens to both men and women and especially in the workplace. However, the women are more vulnerable to being sexually harassed than the men are. In fact, half of the women working today have been sexually harassed at some point in their lives. With all these happening in the work places, the employees do not have confidence in reporting these cases using the internal procedures. It is the work of the managers, and the Christian managers for this matter, to make sure that all employees regain all the confidence in the internal systems. This includes having all managers practice what fairness and justice in the workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outline

Introduction

The introduction gives the definition of sexual harassment and the thesis statement.

Thesis statement:

Christians’ perception and response to sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Paragraph one

analyses the definition of a Christian, how sexual harassment has been handled by the victims, people close to the victims and the culprits in the yesteryears, ands how it is being handled today.

The second paragraph

Gives a statistics of the women who have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their workplaces and how these victims handle such ordeals.

The third paragraph

Highlights reasons leading to the vulnerability of women to sexual harassment.

The fourth paragraph

Gives examples of employees and managers who have found themselves being sexually harassed.

The fifth paragraph

Explains ways of making the employees aware about the policies and laws concerning their rights. They should be told how to handle sexual harassment incidences. This includes what awaits those who harass others.

The sixth paragraph

Gives the effects of sexual harassment on the victims and their behavior in the workplace

The seventh paragraph

Explains the method, which the victims prefer using to report these cases as compared to reporting to the internal managers

The eighth paragraph

Explains the incompetence of most managers, which leads to the lack of trust from the employees whom they manage

The ninth paragraph

Explains the influence of religion in relation to how a victim will handle a sexual harassment incident

The tenth paragraph

Gives recommendations of how sexual harassment cases can be reduced in the work place so that the environment is comfortable for both the male and the female employees.

Conclusion

The conclusion

Gives a summary of the issues talked about in the body of the paper. It also gives recommendations on what the managers can do in order to gain back the trust of the employees. This will enable the employees have confidence reporting these cases internally. The Christians should lead by way of actions.
Christian’s Perception and Response to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Introduction

Sexual harassment may be approached in different ways depending on the different people. There are those who feel that looking at them in a manner suggesting that you are admiring them is sexual harassment. Others feel that simply staring at them is sexual harassment. There are those who feel that making compliments/comments about their bodies is sexual harassment. Others feel that sexually harassment happens when one is touched without their consent or forced to have sex (raped). All these people are right in one way or another. Quoting Judith Berman Brandenburg, Anne E. Patrick defines sexual harassment as “unwanted sexual attention that would be offensive to a reasonable person and that negatively affects his/her environment…it includes a wide range of behaviors from verbal innuendo and subtle suggestions, to overt demands and abuse” (1999). Making the spotlight point at a specific area, the discussion here will be Christians’ perception and response to sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

            Christians are those who follow the teachings of the bible and generally follow the Christian faith. To narrow it further, they are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Having this in mind, these people are expected to respond to different situations in different ways and in accordance with the Bible. Sexual harassment in the workplace or any other place has been hidden and kept quite about especially for those of this faith. The victims harsh for they are afraid of what people will talk about them or their security while those who know about it just look the other way. The cases are even worse when a family member is either the victim or the culprit. Fortunately, people are being open about sexual harassment, whether done by a stranger, colleague, boss, friend or family member.

It is unfortunate that most victims of sexual harassment in the workplace are women. In fact, half the number of women working has experienced sexual harassment at some point (Vijayasiri, 2008). Gender harassment is the most common types of the sexual harassment’s present. Hall, Christerson and Cunningham explain gender harassment as “exposure to demeaning or stereotyping comments” (2010). They also explain that it is categorized as part of gender discrimination. However, the men also get their own share of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, they do not speak out about it as the women do. As mentioned earlier, people in the workplace are highly vulnerable of receiving this kind of treatment. They get this from their fellow colleagues, customers and clients and above all, their seniors. These are mostly their supervisors, managers and directors including the owners of the company (Abdel-hameid & AbdelRhman, 2009).

There are many reasons why women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment. It is said that the men are weaker (in terms of giving in to their sexual desires) than the men. Being a manger and feeling that they are in control of everything, they take advantage of this chance and use it to get their own selfish ways. In most work places, most top managers are men. Some take advantage of this position and take advantage of those who vulnerable and desperate of employment. Occupying the top seats, these same people take advantage of those seeking for promotions and higher pay. Due to the high competitiveness in the work places, they take advantage of all these opportunities to harass these female employees with the promise of promotions or job securities. Some women get sexually harassed as early as the time of seeking employment. This is done by the employer, who is mostly a man, asking for a sexual favor in return of a job security and a good salary (Hall et al., 2010).

As all these people go through these ordeals, the managers in the workplace are also at a similar risk. Although it seems highly unlikely, they are as vulnerable as most of the other employees. Two cases that happened in 1991 and one that took place in 1994 brought awareness that managers were also being sexually harassed. In 1991, Anita Hill brought allegations that she had been sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas who had been nominated for the Supreme Court. By then, he had supervised her at two federal agencies. Tailhook Associations also filed similar allegations. In 1994, Paula Jones accused the then President Bill Clinton of sexually harassing her (Strate, Jung & Leidlein, 2009). As they take care of employees, they should remember that they are also employees. Concentrating on the people they manage, managers should make sure that all reports and allegations of sexual harassment. Most companies and cities have policies and by-laws specifically dealing with reporting and handling cases of sexual harassment (Strate et al., 2009).

As a manager, especially one who is a Christian, it is important to make sure that all these policies and laws are known to an employee at the time of employment. This is a first step of ensuring that the employee is aware of his rights and the consequences of engaging in such activities. This knowledge can be given using different methods (Vijayarisi, 2008). The manager can organize an orientation program, which differ in period depending on the information to be given. Another option can be to give a handbook containing the policies and the laws. Better still, both ways can be implemented on the employee so that he/she has sufficient knowledge of everything. The managers should also create a good rapport with the employees and their supervisors so that they are not ashamed or intimidated of reporting such cases. This includes cases relating to their fellow managers.

Employees who have gone through sexual harassment in the work place are very much affected. Women who have been sexually harassed portray symptoms related to psychological problems like anger, nervousness and depression. They also report sleeplessness and loss of weight. They are absent in work more than the other employees and change jobs more than the others do (Vijayasiri, 2008). All these cost the company a lot, as they are less productive and the cases associated with sexual harassment really cost the companies a lot of time and money (Hersch, 2011). Although all these are painful processes for the victim, the manager and the company as a whole, it is important that the managers make sure that all reports are made and followed up. It may cause more damage if the cases were brought to the attention of the manager but it is found out that nothing was done about it.

The Christian faith teaches that the Christians lead by the actions. In most cases, victims of sexual harassment rarely use the internal method of reporting (Vijayasiri, 2008). Most of them will use other means like reporting to the police, workers’ unions amongst others. This is because most of these workers have no faith in the people managing in their work places or with the workplace as a whole. Hersch conducted a research and found out that the risk rate of being sexually harassed varies by age, industry and sex (2011). He further found out that “the women face far greater risk of sexual harassment than men in every industry and every age” (2011). With this information, it is important that the managers know that the women they are managing, stand a higher risk of being sexually harassed than their counterparts the males. This is why it is even more important for them to be more alert.

Many managers have proved to be incompetent and untrustworthy when it comes to matters concerning cases of sexual harassment. An employee takes the necessary procedure of reporting a case but when it reaches the top, it just “goes with the wind” (Vijayasiri, 2008). In other words, nothing is done about it. In some extreme cases, the victims end up having insecurities, being intimidated, or loosing their jobs. This is most so in the cases where fellow managers or top-level managers and directors are involved. This is the reason why the victims end up communicated with the outside systems rather than taking the inside procedure. It is the work of the Christian manager to live up to what they preach about everywhere. Confidence in the inside way of handling such cases must be restored in the workplaces.

To some extent, how people respond to sexual harassment depend on their religious believe. There are churches in the Christian faith, which may end up blaming the victim for her ordeal. This may be due to how they dress, they character, general conduct, amongst others (Hall et al, 2010). It is therefore important that a manager get a general knowledge of the employees religious believes. There is absolutely no one who should undergo sexual harassment no matter his or her conduct. How they dress, walk, talk or behave should not be a reason to dismiss or handle a case differently. A number of harassers have based the cause of their acts on the way an employee dressed or talked to them. This should not be an excuse to search misconducts. Every employee has his/her own rights and freedoms.

On the other hand, it is important that there be policies, regulations and rules on how all employees should generally conduct themselves. This may include how one employee should relate with another, the mode of dressing, amongst others. This should be done in order to seal the loopholes that the sexual harassers cling on when trying to justify their acts. It is also evident that males are highly provoked by certain ways of dressing and general conduct. Most of the times, it affects their working environment or their behavior every time they are around such situations. In order to make the working environment comfortable for both parties, it is important to have such policies and regulations (Abdel-hameid & AbdelRhman, 2009).

Conclusion

It is important that the employees gain confidence in the work place internal systems so that more of these cases can be reported. Many employees go through sexual harassment everyday without speaking out for fear of their lives and their jobs. If enough female employees speak up of such ordeals, the men who also go through such ordeals will also speak up without being intimidated. This will be for the benefit of the employee and the company as a whole. As stated earlier, sexual harassment cases greatly cost the company a lot. It is also important to get these culprits so that these cases reduce. In most cases, one or employee may be responsible of a more than one case in the same work place. Most female employees will complain of being sexually harassed by one person (supervisor, manager or the owner or director) (Hall et al., 2010). As mentioned repeatedly, the women are at a higher risk of being sexually harassed at their work place more than their counter male employees are. It is the responsibility of the managers, including the Christian ones, to provide all employees a safe and secure working environment so that they can maximize their output and the company can be at its best. The employees should be made to have confidence in the internal systems by both words and actions. The procedures put in place to handle such cases should not only work but also be seen to work. Most culprits get more encouraged to do these acts if the people responsible of taking care of the victims do nothing about it.

References

Abdel-hameid, S., & AbdelRhman, W. (2009). Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. Ahfad Journal, 26(1), 3-24. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Hersch, J. (2011). Compensating Differentials for Sexual Harassment. The American Economic Review, 101(3), 630-634. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Lewis Hall, M., Christerson, B., & Cunningham, S. (2010). Sanctified Sexism: Religious Beliefs and the Gender Harassment of Academic Women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34(2), 181-185. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Lindgren, K. P., Parkhill, M. R., George, W. H., & Hendershot, C. S. (2008). Gender Differences in Perceptions of Sexual Intent: A Qualitative Review and Integration. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32(4), 423-439. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Patrick, A. E. (1999). Sexual harassment: a Christian ethical response. Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics, 19371-376. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Strate, J. M., Tae Hwa, J., & Leidlein, J. (2009). Sexual Harassment!. Public Integrity, 12(1), 61-75.

Vijayasiri, G. (2008). Reporting Sexual Harassment: The Importance of Organizational Culture and Trust. Gender Issues, 25(1), 43-61.

 

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