Survey shows 1 in 3 men don’t think catcalling is sexual harassment

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Credit: Scott Olson

Credit: Scott Olson

Since allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced last October, reports of abuse across multiple industries have skyrocketed.

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In fact, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, survivors have been reaching out to RAINN's sexual assault hotline in record numbers since the Weinstein allegations and the powerful #MeToo social media campaign that followed.

In October 2017 alone, the organization assisted a record 19,432 people.

While victims, mostly women, have been empowered to speak up and share their stories, many have wondered about men’s education on sexual harassment.

Data marketer Brionna Lewis, with the auto company Instamotor, set out to find some answers.

In a survey of 750 men in the United States, conducted Oct. 20-21, 2017, via the survey platform Pollfish, men answered questions about their experience and thoughts on sexual harassment and assault.

Many men aren’t really clear on what constitutes sexual harassment.

According to the survey, 1 in 3 respondents said they don’t think catcalling is sexual harassment.

And 2 in 3 respondents said they don’t think repeated unwanted invitations to dinner, drinks or dates is sexual harassment.

But men are definitely witnessing sexual harassment.

According to the survey, 45 percent of the men said they've witnessed someone being sexually harassed, with 50 percent of respondents reporting such incidents occurred at work or at a party, bar or nightclub.

Other areas where respondents said they witnessed someone being sexually harassed:

  • Street (47 percent)
  • School (43 percent)
  • Public transportation (32 percent)

Some are speaking up for others.

One-third of respondents said they have directly confronted offenders when they witnessed sexual harassment or assault and nearly a quarter said they intervened by interrupting the act, distracting from the act or in another way.

Still, 18 percent of the men said they either said or did nothing when witnessing sexual harassment or assault.

And more than a quarter of respondents said they regretted their decision to not do more to help when witnessing an incident.

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Many of the men are also victims.

According to the survey, more than one quarter of the men said they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted themselves.

But some men think sexual harassment isn’t a huge deal.

Nearly 1 in 5 respondents said they don’t think sexual harassment is a an offense for which someone should be fired.

Additionally, a quarter of the survey respondents said they believed the increased conversation around sexual harassment was unjustified.

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Possible limitations of the survey

According to The Washington Post, the poll used a nonprobability sampling technique instead of random sampling, and it's not clear whether the findings are representative of American men overall.

More about Instamotor's study at