For the past several weeks, sexual harassment has become a major topic in entertainment, media and politics.
Political leaders like President Trump and former president George H.W. Bush are showing up in the same conversations as members of the media who often reported on them, including former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, anchor Bill O'Reilly and former MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin.
The topic most recently gained traction after dozens of women went public with harassment and rape accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who gave $10,000 to the defense fund of former president Bill Clinton when he was fighting legal battles surrounding his sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
It also has put attention back on Trump, who has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by multiple women.
“It is hard to reconcile that Harvey Weinstein could be brought down with this, and [President] Trump just continues to be the Teflon Don,” said Jessica Leeds, who claims that she was groped 30 years ago on a plane by the president.
Most people are not surprised that sexual harassment against women isn't limited to Hollywood or Washington.
A solid majority of Americans — 64 percent — say that sexual harassment in the workplace is a “serious problem” in the United States, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. That number was less than half — 47 percent — in the 2011 poll.
And nearly two-thirds of Americans say men who sexually harass female co-workers usually get away with it.
Many surveys look at women's views on this issue, but Instamotor surveyed 750 men across the United States to hear their experiences with sexual harassment or assault. And some of their responses were surprising.
Many men aren't even sure what sexual harassment is when to check-off whether a series of actions amounted to "sexual harassment or assault."
- 1 in 3 respondents don’t think catcalling is sexual harassment.
- 2 in 3 don’t think repeated unwanted invitations to drinks, dinner or dates is sexual harassment.
- Nearly 1 in 5 don’t think sexual harassment is a fireable offense.
The poll was conducted using a non-probability online sample of men recruited by the survey firm Pollfish, rather than drawing a random sample of the public, and it is unclear whether results are representative of men in the U.S. overall. The surveys' question on definitions did not specify whether acts occurred between coworkers, where laws barring sexual harassment commonly apply.
Nonetheless, the survey found many men realize that they are surrounded by sexual harassment.
Nearly half — 45 percent — said they have witnessed someone being sexually harassed. And of those who have witnessed it, half have seen harassment happen in the workplace.
But there aren't many men speaking out as needed — something NPR correspondent Sarah McCammon noted on Twitter.
Tonight's dinner convo turned to sexual harassment. My 10yo son said, "Is there anything we can do to help?" GROWNUP MEN WATCH AND LEARN.
— Sarah McCammon NPR (@sarahmccammon) October 25, 2017
Only 1 in 3 men said they've directly confronted offenders after witnessing harassment or assault, and about a quarter say they regret not doing more. And nearly 1 in 5 — 18 percent — said they did or said nothing.
But former vice president Joe Biden wants to see men take a different approach. On Twitter this week, Biden posted a video with Lady Gaga addressing the issue.
“We want to make it real clear, it's on us — it's on everyone — to intervene, to stop abuse when they see it and when they hear about it, and to intervene,” Biden said.
“No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman for any reason other than self-defense, ever. Period,” he added.
— xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga) October 25, 2017
Despite Biden’s plea and the increase in attention, a significant number of the men surveyed seem unconcerned about the issue. One in 4 respondents do not think the recent increase of conversations around sexual assault is justified.
This post has been updated.