Sexual harassment is a widespread problem, but do you ever wonder if it is worse in California? According to a new study from UC San Diego School of Medicine and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, there are more reports of sexual harassment in the Golden State than the national average. Reports from women and men in California are 5% and 10% higher than nationwide numbers, respectively.
This is the first statewide report that explores the scope and prevalence of sexual harassment in California. The report takes into account all types of physical, verbal and cyber sexual harassment. So, what are we to make of these numbers? And what can you do if you are a victim of sexual misconduct?
Sexual harassment in California by the numbers
UCSD’s Center on Gender Equity and Health and CALCASA find that, in California, 86% of women and 53% of men experience sexual harassment and assault. This is in comparison to the national averages of 81% and 43%, respectively.
According to the study, the most common victims of sexual harassment are lesbian and bisexual women, gay and bisexual men and foreign-born men.
Researchers offer several possibilities as to why more reports of sexual harassment exist in California. One reason is because of greater awareness thanks to the popularity of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood. Additionally, California is home to numerous major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento that are prone to street harassment.
What to do if you are a victim of harassment or assault
If you experience inappropriate conduct at your job, you may want to review your employer’s sexual harassment policy, report the incident to your employer, file a complaint with the state and/or federal government and seek legal action. But in the case of sexual assault, you may need to report it to the police or even call 911 in a life-threatening situation. Seeking support from friends, family and community resources can help you deal with the effects of misconduct.