Eight days ago I went out with three friends, two of them are doctors and one is a psychologist. The idea was to welcome one of them who lives in Bogota. We had been planning our meeting for months to catch up.
It was raining, I arrived a little late and they were ahead of me; each one had a craft beer and they told me that the waiter had recommended it to them. Miguel, that’s what I will call the young man, suggested that it would be better if we ordered a pitcher to share and we agreed.
When he arrived with the pitcher, the fun started. It turns out that, as he started to serve me, the beer was overflowing and of course, I started to drink it quickly so it wouldn’t spill. And spontaneously Patricia, Claudia and Sandra started shouting in chorus: “Suck it, suck it, suck it!
Miguel, amidst laughter, continued serving, but in reality everything changed, and at that moment, it occurred to us to do ‘the experiment’. Immediately, the tone changed, the young man was still kind and respectful, but not even the mask could hide how uncomfortable he was. Every time we ordered something we used double entendre jokes until we didn’t see him anymore.
After a while, a waitress arrived and we understood that the experiment had worked: a young man harassed by forty-something women. We asked him why he didn’t want to serve us anymore and, still being polite, he told us that each waiter had an assigned area and that ours was not his area to serve to.
We apologized and told him about our experiment that rather than giving him a hard time, it was to test the reaction of men to female harassment. Miguel smiled and brought us the bill.
Sexual harassment does not only happen to women, men are also harassed. How can we forget the 90’s classic ‘Disclosure’, in which an executive, an attractive Michael Douglas, is erotically harassed and defamed by his attractive boss, the beautiful actress Demi Moore.
Informally, I surveyed 20 men and asked them two very simple questions:
Have you ever been harassed by a woman?
Why don’t men report harassment by a woman?
To the first question, 14 acknowledged that they had been harassed and the remaining 6 said they had not.
Regarding the second question, these were their responses:
“We men don’t find it serious”.
“If we like the woman, we don’t say anything and if we don’t, we’re not going to say it either”.
“Because of our macho spirit. By believing that if we do it, we show weakness to women”.
“Because I don’t see myself in such danger to do so, in fact, it feeds my ego”.
“Because a sue would bring repercussions in my personal life”.
“Because some don’t know the Law”.
“Men do not need an institution to handle such matters”.
“Because the authorities find it ridiculous”.
“Socially, it is embarrassing; that is why men do not complain or report it”.
Fan in love:
A fellow journalist shared his experience with a young female fan a few years back: “It was too intense, she wanted to ‘eat’ me so much that she would tell my friends. She would send me pictures and when she saw me she would shake, it was a total desire. She would go to events and would propose to go on a date. I never accepted her charms and she said that I was afraid of her”.
“In my case I did not report it, because it was something I could handle; she was a fan, I understood that it was an illusion, and although I could have fulfilled her desires, I refrained. But the truth is, sometimes we don’t see it as harassment, but as insinuations, and since we are men, it is possible that we have given a glimmer of hope in something. Today, I would report her; 5 years ago, I would play along”.
A teacher also shared his experience: “Being in my job at the university, a student’s mom asked me for a favor related to the tuition and then started calling me and inviting me to hang out. It was there that I felt how it feels for a woman to be harassed by a man and it is quite uncomfortable”.
When answering why men do not sue, he commented: “Simple, because of machismo. If I’m not mistaken, I once read a report that said that there are more cases of harassment by women against men, although the most reported ones are cases of abuse by men against women”.
A report published by the American Psychological Association explained coercion to have sexual relations of various kinds as: “a common problem among the male population, which is rarely studied seriously”, and it concludes that, in 95 percent of the cases, the aggressors are women close (through work or studies) or known (friends, relatives) to the victim.
In the virtual world, harassment is increasingly common and cases are reported in which certain women take revenge on their ex-partners and exhibit them on social networks, and there is even a page called pornovenganza (pornorevenge), created for this purpose.
In addition, there is the exhibition on social media of screenshots of conversations between some women and men. This practice could be considered as harassment from the person who publishes it, because it boasts the details of a consensual dialogue between two adults.
There is a question I have always asked myself when faced with sexual harassment, whether by men or women: What happens when the aggressor is attractive? I leave it to you.
What is certain is that in this experiment, my friends and I understood that when a woman is powerful in front of a man, she can be equally or worse as a harasser than they are.
Traducción del español: Catalina Oviedo Brugés