After #MeToo: Sexual Harassment Rates in California Higher than National Average

A recently released report revealed some interesting statistics in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement – that more Californians experience sexual harassment than anyone else in the country. The report states that sexual harassment and assault cases in our state are 5% higher for women, and 10% higher for men (especially gay or bisexual men), than the national average.

The paper, titled “Measuring #MeToo in California: A Statewide Assessment of Sexual Harassment and Assault,” was authored jointly by the Center for Gender Equity and Health (GEH) at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the nonprofit organization California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA).

The paper determines harassment as: verbal sexual harassment, cyber sexual harassment, physically aggressive sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Research showed that the most common victims of sexual harassment in California are those who identify as gay or lesbian, and males born outside the United States. Anita Raj, director of GEH and professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine is concerned. “California has led the nation’s focus on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement,” she said in a press release. “This report offers a stark look at the widespread prevalence of verbal, physical and cyber-based sexual harassment in the Golden State.”

This report is the first statewide analysis of the scope and occurrence of sexual assault and harassment in California. Past national surveys have shown a higher prevalence of harassment in the state, although those numbers could be influenced by a greater awareness of what sexual harassment is, and the fact that California is home to many major cities and thus a higher risk of street harassment.

Raj said the goal of the paper was to see if these statistics would be affected by #MeToo. “The #MeToo movement really gained recognition through what was happening in Hollywood so we thought that would be a really important lens to see what has really happened after the MeToo movement,” she said.

Sexual harassment in CA – the numbers

Highlights of the study include the following:

  • More than 86% of women and 53% of men in California have experienced sexual harassment or assault. The national average is 81% for women and 43% for men.
  • Three out of four men born outside the U.S. reported harassment, as opposed to one out of two U.S.-born citizens.
  • Four out of five lesbian and bisexual women have faced sexual assault compared with one in four straight women.
  • Three out of four gay and bisexual men have faced aggressive sexual harassment compared with one out of three straight men.

Raj pointed out, “This report demonstrates that sexual harassment is prevalent and ubiquitous, but at the same time, we also see higher rates on some of our most marginalized residents, such as gay, lesbian and bisexual people and foreign-born men.”

David S. Lee, director of prevention at CALCASA, said improved education about consent must be addressed across the nation, not just in California. “We know that prevention works, and it’s necessary to shift to a culture where individuals look out for one another.”

Awareness of sexual harassment and assault keeps growing. If you’ve suffered either of these, the attorneys at Taylor & Ring in Los Angeles can help. We’ll work to protect your rights and represent you with strength and compassion. Call us today at 310.776.6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.

 

 

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