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Keep Your Hand Off
Stop Touching on the Job
By Barrington H. Brennen, May 9, 2009, updated June 20, 2021


I am still shocked by the number of men and women are so free to give unsolicited touches to colleagues on the job.    The reports of the number of females who are victims of sexual harassment is seriously too high.   They outnumber reports of males being sexually harassed by females.   These reports are not only from persons working at regular businesses—banks, retail stores, schools, etc.—but also from churches and other religious institutions. 

Why is sexual touching or unsolicited inappropriate touching so easily carried out by work colleagues, especially males on the job.    The truth is that many men have been taught to use women to satisfy their sexual urges. "That’s what they are for," they exclaim. They were not taught to honor and cherish women in the fullest sense. Many men do appear to be respectful, kind, and gentle to their partners but when the urge to have sex takes over, they act like bulls or dogs in heat.  There are a great number of men and some women, who have no idea of social or personal boundaries.   Hence, they grope, touch, lean, squeeze, pinch, kiss, hug, hold, and sit on, when they should not do so.  I like to remind women in particular, that they are not public leaning posts.

This could explain why there is so much sexual harassment in the workplace. there are far too many men often the ones who cannot keep their hands off women. They lean on them, touch their hips and breasts, put their arms around their waists, and even try to kiss them. Let’s not leave out the women who also try to seduce men on the job. Sexual misconduct is becoming more and more prevalent.

Some are just plain ignorant about what constitutes sexual harassment while many others are just acting foolishly with persons of the complementary sex in the workplace. Hence, let me define sexual harassment in a simple way.  Sexual harassment is: Unsolicited physical contact and advances toward someone.  A demand or request for sexual favors; Sexually colored remarks with colleagues on the job; Showing pornography; and any other unwelcomed physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature. Interestingly, the victim could be the person harassed as well as anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Has your boss ever stopped by and rubbed your shoulders while he "checked out the work you were doing?” Or does your co-worker  constantly stop by to flirt with you? A comment like, "Wow, you have sexy hips" can be sexual harassment

The universal statistics are alarming. Here they are: 31% of the female workers claim to have been harassed at work. 7% of the male workers claim to have been harassed at work, 62% of targets took no action. 100% of women claim the harasser was a man. 59% of men claim the harasser was a woman. 41% of men claim the harasser was another man. In The Bahamas more and more persons are reporting sexual harassment. The statistics are embarrassing and frightening. It is time that we take a serious look at a program that educates and trains both men and women about respectful behavior towards each another.

People in the workplace can set boundaries to reduce sexual harassment. Here are some suggestions: Avoid meeting privately after hours or over lunch; Avoid sending personal E-mail and fax notes to co-workers; Avoid lingering glances or touches, even a good morning hug; Shake hands only; Avoid texting a co-worker with whom you do not have an intimate relationship;  and avoid fantasies about co-workers.

Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send you comments or questions to question@coralwave.com, or call 1-242-327-1980 or visit www.soencouragement.org









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