California Sexual Harassment Reports Higher Than Average

In California, the incidence rate of sexual harassment is approximately 5 percent higher for women and 10 percent higher for men compared to the national average. Those at increased risk include:

  • Immigrants
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Transgender

That’s according to The University of California San Diego School of Medicine’s Center for Gender Equity and Health and a non-profit dedicated to prevention of sexual assault.sexual harassment

The fact that California led the country on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements makes the report findings somewhat surprising, except when you consider that we’re talking about reported cases. We live in a state where awareness has been prioritized, and that means an increasing number of workers know their rights – and are committed to fighting for them.

Still, our Riverside gender discrimination lawyers recognize the pervasiveness of physical, verbal and cyber sexual harassment in this state is likely to shock more than a few.

The analysis, led by the GEH’s public health and social science researchers, focus on gender-based inequity and how to achieve better health outcomes for everyone. While this analysis focuses solely on sexual harassment (a form of gender discrimination under Title VII) and assault in California, the team has also been collecting national data to be able to release national figures soon.

Of the primary points discovered:

  • Nearly 86 percent of women residing in California (compared to 81 percent in the country) and 53 percent of Californian men (compared to 43 percent in the U.S.) say they have at some point in their lives experienced sexually-based assault and/or harassment.
  • Of U.S.-born men residing in California, half (1 in 2) reported being a victim of sexual harassment at some point. For Foreign-born men, it was worse – 3/4.
  • At least one-third of women ages 18 to 24, black women and bisexual women reported being a victim of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault in the last six months.
  • Lesbian women are reportedly extremely vulnerable to sexual assault compared to their straight counterparts. Whereas 1 in 4 homosexual women had been victimized, 4 out of 5 lesbians had suffered the same.
  • Gay men are also incredibly vulnerable, according to the report, with 3 in 4 suffering some type of aggressive sexual harassment, which includes unwanted sexual touching, stalking, etc., compared to 1 in 3 straight men.
  • 40 percent of women and 20 percent of men reported being cyber-stalked or harassed.

The two main points this report truly drives home is the fact that sexual harassment in California is not only widespread, but also more severe for those who are the most vulnerable. Once again, it shows the great need for better understanding on education regarding sexual consent.

Study authors say prevention works and it’s critical to initiating a cultural shift where workers look out for one another, support each other when these things are reported. Of those sexual harassment and assault cases reported, 38 percent occurs at work (as opposed to on the street, at their residence, school.

But even though sexual harassment is so incredibly common – with 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men having reported experiencing it – very few (1 percent of women, 2 percent of men) have told anyone else.

If you are a victim of sexual harassment at work, it is a form of gender discrimination, it is against the law and you are entitled to compensation for it when employers fail to take action.

Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.

Additional Resources:

Report Finds California Above National Average for Sexual Harassment Rates, May 23, 2019, UC San Diego Health